FinTech is still hot on everyone's lips fresh off the recent Singapore FinTech Festival. We caught up with four senior comms heads from Southeast Asia to hear their forecast for 2022, how the industry will evolve in the year to come and learn how they are anticipating these changes as communicators.
Mark Worthington, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Klareco Communications
Digital adoption of services including payments accelerated since the pandemic started, and it’s clear that the digital revolution will continue to spread across more areas of financial services with technologies such as machine learning, AI and blockchain. Web 3.0 that is built on decentralized blockchain protocol will further the impact that blockchain is already making on financial services, especially with digital assets including cryptocurrencies. The challenge for financial communications advisors is to keep up with the pace of change. We do this by continually strengthening our understanding of how these technologies enable the future of financial services and the dynamic policy environment that is taking shape to foster digital financial inclusion. This allows us to provide strong strategic counsel to our clients and meet stakeholder needs across the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem.
Anu Gupta, Director, APRW
APRW set up its startup / tech in 2017 and we believe it was at the opportune time. We have witnessed and grown alongside the now robust startup / FinTech ecosystem in Singapore. A recent research by UOB
revealed that Singapore FinTech firms have raised US$725 million in H1 of 2021 as compared to US$178 million in 2017. This is a clear testament of Singapore’s pole position as the FinTech Hub in ASEAN. We believe we are not technologists but our job is to simplify the complex messages in a way that it can be easily consumed in the public domain. We have seen the evolution of the FinTech industry and depend on our clients, partners, media friends to guide us to stay updated with the trends. By diving in to explore and understand new emerging technologies such as FinTech and now blockchain technology, we are constantly future-proofing ourselves for the next big wave to come.
As an agency, we will never stop being curious about new developments and stay relevant as demand for our services evolve.
Anindita Sekar Jati, Global PR Lead, Tokocrypto
We can expect that more and more FinTech startups will grow and close multi-million dollar deals, and this can only happen because the market demands it. There has been massive investment made into FinTech startups in Indonesia, not just specifically crypto. According to the “e-Conomy SEA 2020
”, tech companies in Southeast Asia picked up US$19 billion in investments in the past 18 months, with FinTech startups sitting at the second-highest industry rank bagging the most deals. It shows the FinTech economy is growing at such a rapid rate, despite covid-19.
One big part to anticipate this boom will be education. We all know the term FOMO, which is a term so very familiar to people in the FinTech world, but especially for people in the trading world (of all kinds, eg. crypto, stocks, etc). The FOMO among the market is very real, influencers are getting in the hype, and FinTech communications professionals are getting more and more creative in delivering finance related messages, which are messages that used to be seen as boring. For us in communications, it's very important to deliver all the necessary knowledge to customers to, not only protect them, but allow them to master their own financial wealth in a calculated pace and safe environment.
Darrell Wright, Managing Director, APAC, Cognito
There are three major trends that we are seeing as a focus for 2022. First is the mainstream acceptance of digital assets and investments. As a client recently put it, “the time has come to take the crazy out of crypto” - and we can see that happening with increasing regulatory support and a surge in digital asset companies working directly with established institutional investors. Singapore, in particular, is being positioned as a leader in this space, especially with MAS’ digital payment token licences. From a communications perspective, this means a greater shift towards building up the credibility of digital assets. For audiences that are newer to digital assets, this translates to a focus on education and for a more savvy audience, we want to showcase long-term viability of digital assets.
The second trend we are seeing is the evolving conversation around sustainability in the FinTech space. Sustainability used to be a “nice-to-have”, thankfully, more companies are prioritising sustainability as a core component of their business model. This means companies are increasingly focused on the tangible metrics and measurable impact of sustainability. As a result, we are working with clients on fresh sustainability stories that focus on initiatives built into operational models, rather than being layered on as an extension.
Finally, digitalisation will continue to accelerate, particularly as new and traditional players increasingly embrace the concept of Web 3.0. This opens the door to smarter and more trusted financial platforms and solutions, as they will be operated without a single centralised entity as the source of truth. The challenge here is to flex messaging to ensure we are helping to all audiences (including those without a technical background) to understand the relevance of our clients’ offerings.