Afro-Asia Fintech Festival announced
Fintech stakeholders from Africa and Asia are preparing to attend the recently announced Arfro-Asia Fintech Festival. It is the first event of its kind and will seek to connect Africa and Asia to network, exchange ideas and build upon Fintech systems in both countries. The inaugural event, dubbed FinTech in the Savannah, will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on 15-16 July 2019.
The event is being organised by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. (MAS) The CBK is responsible for formulating monetary policy and promotes financial stability to its clients. MAS is Singapore’s central bank which specialises in non-inflationary economic growth through appropriate monetary policy formulation.
Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor, CBK said, “CBK is honoured to partner MAS in co-creating a unique platform for policy-makers, technology entrepreneurs, financial industry leaders and other players to come together and tap their diverse knowledge and experiences. Cross-border cooperation is increasingly important as global problems cannot be resolved in isolation. We need to come together as a global community to learn from each other and co-create solutions that will improve the lives of our people.”
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Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, said, “Some of the most exciting developments in technology-enabled financial inclusion are happening in Africa and Asia. The central banks of Kenya and Singapore share a vision to build an Afro-Asia platform to synergise efforts in FinTech innovation. With Kenya and Singapore as the starting points, we hope to bring our two regions closer together to innovate and make financial services more accessible and affordable for our people.”
FinTech in the Savannah attendees can expect a Fintech Conference, exhibition and cultural highlights sharing the best work from the two regions. According to MAS, this years theme is ‘Sustainable Finance: Inclusive and Green.’ Key topics of focus will include: “Technology for Tomorrow”, “Social Impact” and “Spirit of Innovation.”
The event is both modeled after, and in collaboration with the Singapore Fintech Festival, the world’s largest festival, which takes place this year from 11-15. November. The week-long event attracts some 45,000 attendees from acros 130 countries. In their 2018 festival participant demographics, the top ten key influencers, decision makers and investors were from Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. These are promising statistics when predicting the attendance and outcome to be generated from the Savannah Conference.
FIVE things fintechs must do to keep investors onboard
New investors flocked to the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-eight percent of investors said they had never had a brokerage or similar account before opening one in 2020.
Low or no-fee trading options have helped accelerate the trend – nearly half of new investors said they accessed their account primarily through a mobile app. As FinTechs, how do we create the trust needed to keep new investors in the market and create a fruitful customer experience for them?
The financial industry does a disservice to individual investors if we merely offer tools that focus on making money quickly, an approach that usually backfires. Instead, the surge of interest presents an enormous opportunity for those who want to help more consumers use financial technology to educate them on responsible spending, saving, and investing in order to achieve financial wellness current fintech tools have welcomed individual investors in the door.
Now, it’s time to focus on education and improving their experience going forward. There are several ways those of us in fintech can step up to shape the future of retail investing so that it works better for everyone, starting with the following areas.
Equal access to financial wellness education
Financial health should be available to everyone — but today, not everyone has the educational resources to achieve it. One study shows that only 3.9% of students from low-income schools were required to take a personal finance class. What they aren’t learning in school or from family members, fintech companies can provide on their platforms.
The companies should move from solely offering financial services to a more responsible model of education, advice, and prescriptive choices to help consumers develop better habits and make wiser financial decisions. Not only can they empower consumers and bridge historical wealth divides, but they can also stimulate growth by opening up new consumer segments.
Just as we’ve come to expect that our fitness routines are tailored to our individual bodies, we’re also ready for finance tools that go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions. But only six percent of financial institutions say they’re using the kind of technology that allows them to deliver a deeply personalized experience. Fintech tools need to reflect that financial success looks different for each of us.
For one consumer, it may mean providing guidance on how to pay off student loans early; for another, it may mean prescriptive actions that enable them to stick to a budget for the first time; for a third, it could look like prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, so that her portfolio aligns with her political beliefs.
Now, we are seeing financial technology beginning to meet the demands of personalized finance in a substantial and meaningful way.
The rise of AI-Powered Advice
Big-picture advice and predictive guidance used to be a feature of high-end financial advisory firms — a perk only available to those who could afford it. But thanks to rapid advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), that kind of holistic advice is now more accessible than ever. AI-driven robo-advisors can parse many different streams of financial information, delivering customized answers to key questions: Is it time to buy a home, or is it smarter to keep renting? Can I afford to take out another student loan?
Intelligent connectivity powered by AI can anticipate consumers’ needs and next steps, making proactive suggestions that guide them along the path to financial wellbeing. Fintech companies can also help consumers identify when their financial picture becomes too complex for a robo-advisor, and help them find a human financial advisor to meet their needs.
Focus on financial mental health
New investors are quickly finding that the market can be overwhelming. That’s not surprising, financial anxiety is common and studies show that financial stress can have an impact on mental health for some.
It’s not enough for fintech companies to give retail investors access; they also must provide the guidance and support that help consumers manage their financial well-being. Educational tools can ensure that consumers are well informed about their options.
Predictive analytics can anticipate consumers’ questions, serving them key information and insights before they ask. Features that emphasize a comprehensive notion of financial well-being, rather than short-term wins and losses, can also help ensure that consumers are keeping their eyes on the bigger picture.
Gamification for good
The surge of gamification apps has done an impressive job making investing as engaging as playing a video game or joining a social media platform.
Much of the current use of gamification emphasizes short-term thinking, but there’s also an opportunity to help consumers think more broadly about their overall financial picture. One example is peer benchmarking, a feature that enables help consumers to see how their financial habits compare to those of friends and fellow consumers.
Gamification can also be used to incentivize making smaller, smarter choices — for example, rewarding saving over making an impulse buy.
The future of fintech is about more than just broadening access to the markets. It’s about making sure more individuals have access to the tools that can help improve their financial well-being—in the ways that suit their own circumstances and needs. The potential to act within their own set of individual priorities, with their long-term financial wellness in mind is much more empowering to a consumer than simply relying on short-term, high-risk investments.