Gemma Lingham, Director, Head of Fintech UK
As we head into 2023, there is an undoubted air of uncertainty. While the fintech industry has proved a resilient one, and innovation often emerges from testing times, approaching the new year cautiously seems the order of the day.
Much like we did last year, we’ve consulted some of the industry’s top experts to gauge what they think fintechs should be considering as we turn yet another new page. Getting your own house in order to ensure future success comes through as a strong starting point, but also taking learnings from the past is emphasised as an equally powerful way of weathering potential incoming storms.
Here is what our fintech experts said should be priorities for 2023:
Diversity in thought and experience
The fintech industry has established itself by solving entrenched challenges within financial services. That needn’t stop now, particularly as we face new challenges brought about by a cost-of-living crisis and a downturn in our economy.
Gemma Young, Founder of Women of Fintech and Chief Growth Officer at TechPassport noted how social mobility is absolutely crucial to continue innovating. “We need to embrace social mobility more than ever to have a workforce who can bring a different background to finding solutions to these problems, often with first-hand experience of them.” But importantly, this needs to go beyond just talk. Gemma says that “it’s important that each company choose achievable tasks for the year ahead that they can action to create inclusive workplaces so that diversity can thrive.”
Better employee experiences
The belief that underpinning the success of any business is the people within it is one also held by Olivia De Pastors, Director, EMEA at enterprise productivity company OpenFin, and something she believes all firms must take seriously in 2023, with fintechs being no exception. “Employees demand a sense of satisfaction and achievement from their roles, and the technology they use in their day-to-day operations needs to support that.”
Surveys by OpenFin show that 46% of employees would seek employment elsewhere if that new company provided them with better apps and tools to do their job. Businesses must look at how they ensure employee fulfilment at work so that they can continue to survive, and thrive, in 2023, and as Olivia makes clear, “the move will be towards enhancing the employee experience outside of soft corporate perks.”
Learning from the past
But as important as it is to look forward, reflection can certainly provide invaluable learnings. Todd Latham, CEO at checkout finance solution provider Divido said when commenting on the finance solutions space, “what we’ve learned from previous recessions is that retailers can not only survive, but thrive, by closing the needs-offer gap. We know that consumers still have an appetite for spending, but because of restrictions on their finances, they need better access to affordable credit.” And it’s likely that, in this sub-sector, this is where we’ll see the likes of short-term interest-free credit come to the fore to support both businesses and consumers alike.
However, Todd cautions, “small credit providers, especially those who operate in the precarious Buy Now, Pay Later market, are going to find it difficult to keep offering interest-free loans. Tier One lenders won’t feel the impact as badly, so should prepare themselves to step into the gap that could be left behind. In this way, they can not only find new credit lines, but support customers and raise the profile of checkout finance.”
The theme that surfaced throughout the majority of FleishmanHillard’s fintech content this year has been how fintechs can authentically navigate and address key issues, so it seems pertinent that our final blog of the year ends on a similar note. What’s clear is that starting the year by taking an inward-focused approach, paired with a healthy dose of reflection, will set fintechs off on the right footing for 2023, and see them capable of tackling whatever is to come.
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