The Times They Are A-Changing. Three months ago, I wrote a piece calling for an urgent step change in the FinTech industry in this very tune of Bob Dylan. In perspective, the modern-day FinTech industry has been battling with macroeconomic issues — from rising interest rates, soaring inflation, industry-wide layoffs, and dwindling consumer confidence. A decade of good times has created some complacency, and with the cold winds of winter upon us, businesses desperately need to become more adaptable and resilient to survive long term.
Now, three months later, and after hosting the largest gathering of the FinTech community ever, the industry is beginning to sing a different tune — one that chants about coming together.
At the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) last year, we saw this very hymn of collaboration come to fruition, with the community coming together to support one another by exchanging valuable insights on business resilience and building new relationships.
When it was all said and done, we saw record turnout totalling over 62,000 across 115 countries. It was absolutely astounding given what was happening in the background, with budgets slashed and rising travel costs from the macroeconomic conditions. Instead of the community turning inward, we saw an incredible embrace and cross-pollination of ideas from people from all walks of life. There were lots of discussions about why now is the time to build and in many cases, organisations coming together to explore a variety of partnership constructs and M&A activity.
It might seem like the start of a bar joke, but how often do you see a sustainability and educational reformist, a major tech company founder, and a chief executive of a financial regulator walk into a room together? This is the only place I’ve ever witnessed such an open and diverse dialogue in FinTech with corporate leaders, policymakers, and regulators.
Some may think of SFF as a culmination of the FinTech industry, but I think of it as a springboard for propelling the industry forward. And now it’s time to deliver on the promising conversations and insightful dialogues.
To encapsulate key learnings from SFF, we’ve collaborated with a few of the world’s leading consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company and Oliver Wyman to release seven post-event reports to the community. These reports include insights such as Web3 and digital assets, banking for business, balancing innovation and regulation, the future of FinTech in growth markets, and how FinTechs can become more resilient. Most reports have been released and are available to download for free by creating an account on the Elevandi website.
The roundtable dialogues during the event also gave birth to working milestones that would benefit FinTech leaders and businesses in the long run. Up to 13 reports from these roundtables are to be released to the FinTech community in early 2023. These reports outline solutions and steps for tackling complex industry issues that were discussed by public and private sector leaders during the Elevandi Insights Forum at SFF 2022. Key reports include a focus on building cross-border payment systems, overcoming talent shortages, and responsible AI in financial services. Likewise, The Milken Institute and United Nations ESCAP — organisations that focused on problem statements around sustainable finance — will be publishing their reports, which would serve as a reflection of the COP27 goals.
And further follow-ups will take place in 2023. First, will be the convening of FinTech communities from the Global South — Africa, Latin America, and Asia — at the Inclusive FinTech Forum in Kigali, Rwanda on 20-22 June. There we’ll work towards promoting technology and policy conversations to enable FinTech development to become equitable, accessible, and sustainable to all people of the world. Immediately after, we’ll head to Zurich, Switzerland for the second edition of the successful Point Zero Forum (26-28 June) to advance Web3 and sustainable finance together with regulators and policymakers. Then on 14-17 November, the global FinTech community will unite once again at the Singapore FinTech Festival — to reflect on the year’s progress and discuss efforts for 2024.
Now, as more organisations begin to see the importance of dialogues between the public and private sectors to build resilient and adaptable businesses, there’s certain to be a stronger call for open dialogue and collaboration globally.
And we, at Elevandi, will remain to be at the forefront of making this happen. Since our inception in 2021, we’ve been pushing conversations that matter to the FinTech industry to help global organisations stay abreast of current issues. Driving the adoption and growth of FinTech globally is in our DNA and we will continue to raise the bar in 2023 through our different platforms.
Ultimately, the future of the FinTech industry is in our hands. While it is uncertain what the economic and industry landscape will look like over the coming months and years, coming together will not only help us weather the storms of uncertainty, but also serve as a burgeoning economic lifeline that will enable us to thrive together as a community.