No matter the industry, technology is changing and even revolutionizing how businesses work. We at Monest has put up an effort to understand how technology has influenced the finance industry, leading to the creation of fin-tech as a thriving new sector.
What is Fin-tech?
Fin-tech is primarily about using technology innovatively to improve and automate the delivery of financial services, making processes for companies, business owners and consumers easier and less cumbersome. For example, instead of going to a bank to apply for a bank loan, you apply for it online. Human intervention is thus limited and transactions are done via your technology and mobile devices. It is used to provide, enable and enhance financial services such as payment, wealth management, money transfer, and moneylending and so on. Popular fin-tech apps in Malaysia include Maybank2U, GrabPay, PayPaL and many more.
What has fuelled the rise of fin-tech in Malaysia?
There are three main reasons why the fin-tech industry in Malaysia is seeing high growth:
The financial industry itself is going through a transformation, for example, in the form of cost-cutting, digitization and efficiency
As one of the fast growing Asian country, Malaysia has a robust technology infrastructure (e.g. high-speed fiber network) while our mobile subscription penetration is very high — key factors for fin-tech growth. In addition, with mobile and digital payments so vital to the industry, Malaysia is working very hard to improve our platforms to attract more investors here.
Many start-up fin-tech firms seek to set up and operate in Malaysia, for access to its well-educated workforce and to locations in Asia such as China and India, as well as emerging markets like Vietnam and the Philippines — all markets that are predicted to do well in the fin-tech space in the near future
What does Malaysian's fin-tech growth mean for workers?
The fin-tech job market is primarily led by digital transformation, meaning that the jobs that you see and that are being created are primarily digitally led.
As one of the fastest-growing industries, the fin-tech industry is well-suited to people who are passionate about technology — especially those who want to have access to and work with newer technologies or want experience working with newer technologies.
Which areas of the fin-tech industry are doing well?
Fin-tech growth started in trade financing but moving forward, the growth will be primarily in fin-tech business management, wealth management, investment management and robo-advisory (robo-advisors that provide financial advice or investment management online with moderate or minimal human intervention).
What are the in-demand fin-tech job roles?
According to some reports on cybercrime, there is almost a 30 percent year-on-year increase in the average number of security breaches in organizations. As cyber-attacks get more sophisticated, especially on more advanced financial platforms, the demand for specialist cyber security professionals is steadily increasing. This includes jobs in IT security and vulnerability management — roles that seek to ensure financial services and transactions take place in a secure environment.
In addition, since fin-tech involves a lot of interfacing with computers and mobile apps, the front end of apps is critical — that is, what they look like, including workflow processes needed to use them, and the user experience (UX) as well as user journey. This means that roles such as UX designer, user interface (UI) designer, digital project manager and digital product manager are in high demand. Data analytics is another area that will continue to do well, especially as fin-tech companies continue to focus on enhancing their offerings and capabilities.
Programming is also of utmost importance. Developer roles such as those who specialize in algorithmic programming and full stack developers who work with data, servers and systems engineering are sought-after.
According to the ASEAN Fin-tech Census 2018, by professional services firm EY, it is crucial that Malaysia Invest in its domestic fin-tech talent by developing their skills and capabilities.
What does it take to transition into the fin-tech industry?
From a technology perspective, if you are able to reskill yourself and pick up on trending technologies, for example the current demand for skills as a mobile (Android or iOS) developer, then you will be able to easily enter this industry.
Those who have strong logical and critical thinking capabilities can consider moving into the fin-tech industry; for instance, into areas involving programming and coding as these are logic-based.
As HR recruiters, we are seeing a trend in those in the cyber security area looking for people with a legal background so they can help support the company’s cyber security team. We also have clients looking for people with a background in statistics as this is the sort of skill set that is needed when you mine data. So, we have come across people who have previously worked in laboratories who are now data scientists in fin-tech firms, reading data and predicting current and future market trends.
Any advice for those already in the industry as well as for those looking to move into this sector?
For those already working in the fin-tech industry, keep upgrading and reskilling yourself.
In the case of those who are keen to move into the industry, it’s never too late to start. It’s okay to start from scratch in this industry due to its fast-paced growth. For example, someone in their 30s in a mid-level career who wants to make a switch can start off in an entry-level role and move up fast.
We expect the boom in fin-tech to continue, and this bodes well for current professionals especially those who keep broadening their skill sets as well new talent looking to join the industry. It’s important to note that change is a constant in this industry. Fin-tech workers therefore have to agile and adaptable in order to effectively deal with the rapid changes in the industry. Besides relevant technical and financial skills, employees will also need analytical and critical thinking to address challenges creatively.
By Suren Subramaniam | 20 October 2020