As the demand for digital financial services continue to grow, FinTech is of interest to everyone amid its viability and contestation. Telum Media spoke to journalists on bold FinTech trends to watch as it becomes a talking point in the financial industry.
Chor Khieng Yuit, Senior Editor, Money Mind (CNA)
Financial inclusion, regulation and digital money are the aspects that made me interested in covering FinTech. FinTech brings financial services to the unbanked. I’m concerned if money laundering / terrorism financing is more prevalent now because FinTechs enable money to be transferred so easily. How do we regulate FinTechs and super apps once they become too big? I’m also in favour of the rise of CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) and the challenges CBDC will pose to commercial banks.
When PRs pitch FinTech-related content, I’m more open to the main idea or problem that the FinTech is addressing. I will focus on financial inclusion and digital money in the next 6 to 12 months.
Kelly Ng, Correspondent, The Business Times
FinTechs in Southeast Asia have been turning heads in the last couple of years and even more so amid the pandemic, as demand for digital services continue to grow. A lot of capital is poured into this space from governments and private investors. There are also plenty of bold ideas and talent. I think it's intriguing to observe how these start-ups, or the unicorns they have grown into, live up to their pledges of solving real-world issues while staying financially viable. Competition is also heating up in some sub-sectors (e.g. payments, e-commerce) so it's interesting to look at how each tries to establish a niche.
I’m focusing on the digital asset space, which has really caught fire of late. Propositions by various stakeholders in this space have been rather polarising and therefore intriguing to unpack. I'm also interested in the convergence of traditional financial institutions and FinTech
Bharati Jagdish, Co-Anchor, MONEY FM 89.3; Freelance Journalist; Communications Strategist
With an increased demand for digital services in the past year, FinTech innovation has definitely been one of the most significant developments of the Covid-19 era. We’re naturally being inundated with a deluge of pitches. However, areas of interest today tend to be more specific.
These include ecosystems that are capable of making adoption and execution more seamless for SMEs and the use of AI and data analytics to customise solutions. Covid-19 has also increased consumer demand for insurance coverage. Hence, customised InsureTech solutions continue to be of great interest. Stories about advancements in digital wealth management solutions are still garnering a lot of attention from the wealthy. At the other end of the spectrum, solutions that empower and deliver savings to those at the bottom of the pyramid are taking off too.
Cryptocurrencies are also being closely watched. In Singapore, DBS Vickers recently secured a licence to offer digital payment token services, while Australian cryptocurrency exchange, Independent Reserve, became the first foreign entity to be granted one. Industry observers are expecting more such licences to be rolled out under the Payment Services Act in the coming months even as cryptocurrency firms are facing intense scrutiny from regulators. It will be interesting to see where crypto lands in the global financial ecosystem.
Another significant trend to watch is the intersection between FinTech and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance), specifically how investment apps can drive impact investing and financial inclusion. With more people searching for purpose in the Covid-19 era, such stories naturally ignite investor interest. Interestingly, these stories also capture the attention of those looking for meaningful careers in FinTech companies with missions that are congruent with theirs.
Jesper Leong, Editor, CoinPasar
What made me take the leap of faith into covering cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology was my interest in their massive potential, and the disconnect I saw when speaking to others involved in crypto. That’s why I started CoinPasar to focus on news that feature real-life applications in Singapore, and to educate on the basics of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
When pitching press releases on crypto or blockchain, I would usually look for angles that discuss its impacts on Singaporeans, or crypto / blockchain happenings in the country. This could mean pitching about current trends like payments regulations, CBDCs, or even high-level events like charity drives involving blockchain.
Two trends in the crypto and blockchain space that I would focus on are metaverses and the evolution of NFTs. While the term may be exploding online after Facebook’s announcement of turning the social network into ‘a metaverse company’, gaming virtual worlds like Minecraft and Roblox are already bringing people together. With the rise of decentralised metaverses like The Sandbox, the advent of VR, and virtual worlds becoming social spaces for meetings and learning, a fully developed metaverse may amalgamate these elements together in the near future.
With NFTs, the realisation that NFT artwork can be worth a fortune have led to a rush to tokenise digital artworks. But as users come to realise that anything can be tokenised, the current definition of NFT as overpriced digital works may expand into other assets like building estates, education certificates, data records, title deeds, etc. These tokenised items could in turn be traded, swapped, staked, loaned, or be applied to current financial instruments or newer decentralised finance products. The next few months will continue to be exciting times for NFTs as we grow its definition collectively.