The rapid growth of fintech continues to grow in 2017 thanks to fintech investment and technology advancements. The anticipated trends of fintech:
Innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) is a significant trend in the financial services sector, with algorithmic (algo) trading handling 75 percent of global trades. AI is allowing business users to have powerful insights, accessed through machine learning technology, complex systems and advanced analytics. This year, billions of dollars will be invested into AI software development in order to create smarter apps that will enhance personalization and customer engagement. A majority of firms prioritize AI advancement and dedicate large corporate budgets to support data insights.
Insurance Fintech, or insurtech, is a trend that has been disrupting the insurance space. Insurtech refers to segments of innovative technology: online policy handling, automated compliance processing, smartphone apps, claim acceleration tools, and others. There are two categories of insurtech: disruptive and enabling. Disruptive insurtechs have the licenses to write their own policies. These companies have more power to take business away from the large traditional companies. In contrast, enabling insurtechs encompass most companies. These companies work with legacy insurance companies in order to optimize operations and help them reach customers in new ways. Fortunately, enabling insurtechs are more popular, allowing insurtechs to modernize the insurance industry rather than threaten it. The insurance industry is slow in modernizing compared to other finance industries due to complex regulations and capital requirements, but as these barriers slowly dissolve, venture capital (VC) funding for insurtech has surged: between 2014 and 2015 funding increased by 225% (Meola, 2016).
Blockchain, known for powering cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, has been gaining steam. Blockchain provides a shared digital ledger that allows for transparency, security, and cost reduction. Its potential for financial services has earned Blockchain the name “Internet of Finance.” Legacy players have invested in harnessing its power and assigned labs to do experiments with the digital ledger, trying to use it to cut costs. Read more about Blockchain on our blog.
Digital payments is one of the most mature areas in fintech, with PayPal in the lead in Europe and the U.S., while Apple Pay and Android Pay are taking over for mobile payments. Other apps such as Venmo are popular for digital payments among millennials. Though there are largely successful companies that dominate the space, some are struggling to make profits and are trying to change directions. Instead of peer to peer payments, some companies are trying to work with models that involve money flowing in one direction.
Risk and security is another trend that is a high priority among banks and businesses. The new age of digitalization increases risks of cyber attacks. Regulators have made it clear that high-quality data is expected from foreign and non-foreign banking organizations and their intermediate holding companies. Through fintech, banks and businesses will create a safer digital environment for businesses, banks and consumers, by protecting financial data.
Author: Yvonne Kwan
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