Digital disruption has been revolutionizing the banking industry and increasingly shaking up corporate banks. According to Boston Consulting Group, over 80% of corporate bankers agree that digital will change the competitive landscape, customer expectations as well as the economics of the banking business. At the same time, digital disruption provides a breeding ground for blockchain and fintech startups to mushroom and gain market share in the already fierce banking sector. Just in the first half of 2018, fintech companies has already received a massive global investment of 57.9 billion USD. While incumbent corporate and investment banks are cutting jobs and turning to artificial intelligence and automation to streamline operations and reduce cost.
The fintech sector presents numerous opportunities and a huge growing potential. While some existing candidates working in the corporate banking sector may fear that their jobs are increasingly threatened, some would even ponder a career in the fintech sector. How can someone with a traditional banking background maximize one’s success in the fintech industry?
1. Discover your transferable skills and leverage on existing knowledge
The banking and tech industry certainly share some necessary skills beneficial for a fintech career. For instance, the ability to crunch numbers and make sense of data to underpin a business decision is especially valuable in a fintech career. Daniel Kiellen, co-founder of Tink, a fintech startup originated from Stockholm explains that data-driven is the backbone of their business model and how important it is in the future of banking. On the other hand, regulatory knowledge is highly beneficial as the financial industry is strictly regulated, which influences both mainstream and young tech-led companies. Especially with open banking and PSD2 being implemented, regulatory knowledge would be highly valued by fintech companies on how these regulatory standards could impact their businesses.
2. Find a function and focus on it
Apart from finding your transferable skills and knowledge, it is important to identify both your strengths and weaknesses, including hard skills such as language and numerical and soft skills such as communications, time management, etc. By combining these with your career goal and vision, you should find a function and focus on it. While it would be helpful to have skills about different functions over the course of your career, it is more essential to distinguish yourself by showcasing an in-depth expertise of a particular function. According to Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career change expert, you can be a generalist in your skills, but you have to be a specialist in your topic. Moreover, developing mental models could be effective in strengthening one’s business and marketing intuition.
3. Networking, seek advisory and mentorship
Just like any other industries, networking plays a pivotal role in transitioning to a fintech career. For example, at Payments & Cards Network, we organize regular meetups for industry professionals to share insights and build relationships. Apart from attending networking events, if possible, seek mentorship with industry leaders who are trusted advisers and connectors that may guide you to opportunities which could potentially change your life and career. Some of today’s most successful business leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg credit mentorship as an indispensable ingredient for one’s career success. By networking with next generation leaders, you gain more self-awareness to stimulate your personal growth and real insights into the next big thing in the fintech industry.
4. Identify a fintech company not only by what they do currently, but also their future plans
The booming fintech industry has led to a burgeoning of start-ups and relatively small and new firms. These companies could offer you a dynamic position and the opportunity to have a major role in a revolutionized product or service. While these fintech start-ups allow you to have wider responsibilities but possibly less job security than established financial institutions, it is important to understand not only their current plans, but also their business model and future goals to identify if they match with your own career goals to attain a win-win relationship for both you and the company.
You can seamlessly move from a traditional banking to fintech career even if your past skills and responsibilities may not appear to be an exact match with the new position you are looking for because they can be transferable and similar in many important ways. Also, it is crucial to identify and focus on a specific function, talk and constantly meet people in the fintech industry to get a sense of the type of positions and companies you want to work for.
Are you ready to launch a career in the fintech industry? Take a look at our best opportunities and reach out to us if you are a good fit!
Written by Verna Kwan, Digital Marketing Executive at Payments & Cards Network