Wednesday 16 January 2019

Talent, regulation and bridging the gender gap - what's next for the Irish fintech space?

Deloitte has noted Dublin as one of Europe’s fintech hubs with the highest potential

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Colm Heffernan, COO of Fenergo

It has been an exciting year for the Irish fintech scene with an exciting 2019 in the pipeline.

Ireland continues to foster a corporate friendly environment.  It is known for being a strong independent regulator and has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe.  There is strong support available for indigenous fintechs from Enterprise Ireland, both in terms of research and development funding and assistance expanding to new markets 

 

A deep pool of fintech talent

This is can be attributed to a strong pool of talented people who understand financial markets.  Software is the most popular industry for business graduates in Ireland with banking in third place. This combination has contributed greatly to the ongoing fintech revolution. Yet, there still continues to be a lack of diversity, especially as regards women with technology skills. In 2019 we expect to see companies making a much bigger effort in balancing the gender gap by engaging more with universities and organisations to recruit women in engineering and technology roles.  

Embracing digital transformation

2019 will be the year that financial institutions accelerate their digital transformation agenda, creating tremendous opportunities for Irish fintech companies. Clients are demanding more and more digital capabilities and experiences from financial institutions. Every major bank has a digital transformation programme in place.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can create leapfrog automation opportunities in areas that are currently labour intensive, time consuming and error prone. This way organisations can improve the customer experience while focusing on higher value activities. Plus, technology disruption is a net job creator in the long-run and new roles around machine learning training models, supervision and auditing will be created. There’s an opportunity to create a hybrid mode of work between people and technology by tapping into human knowledge and expertise to create a symbiosis between human and augmented decision making.

The changing regulatory landscape

Fintech, has also given rise to regtech startups. Digitalisation, open API’s, utility services, distributed ledger technology and AI are some prominent technologies that will have a significant impact on regulation in 2019. Each of the above has the potential to disrupt regulation. Most organisations are trying to deal with existing regulations while also keeping track of future regulations that could impact their business. The cost of dealing with these changes is a big deal and financial institutions are always seeking a better and easier way of managing the constantly evolving landscape.

In 2019 firms will look for automated processes to deal with regulatory change. By adopting a community approach to regulation, firms can share and learn from different ways of dealing with new regulations. In the past, organisations handled this in a siloed approach. By forming communities, organisations can leverage best practices that are already in place, such as the use of technology, as well as sharing intelligence, product development initiatives, mutualizing cost and ultimately being better prepared for upcoming regulatory change.                 

Deloitte recently noted Dublin as one of Europe’s fintech hubs with the highest potential. When you combine money know-how and the digital world, it’s easy to see why Ireland will continue to see growth in 2019.  

Colm is responsible for the strategic direction of Fenergo’s Global Services division, with specific remit over Client Success, Pre-Sales, Client Support and Client Training. With over 30 years’ industry experience, Colm holds a Bachelor of Financial Services from University College Dublin (UCD).

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