As we move closer to the end of January 2017, one thing’s for sure: digital financial innovation shows no signs of abating in Asia Pacific, and a series of financial technology (fintech) startups continue to put Singapore and Hong Kong firmly on the innovation map. Just last week Next Money held its Fintech Finals 2017 (FF17) in Hong Kong, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also announced that it will hold the Singapore Fintech Festival 2017 in November, the second year in a row that the regulator will be hosting the event.
FinovateAsia 2016 in Hong Kong and the Global Fintech Hackcelerator in Singapore last year gave us a glimpse into how fintech in the region will develop in 2017:
Asia’s governments are playing a pivotal role in driving fintech investment. MAS has committed nearly $160 million through 2020 to the Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FSTI) scheme to fund infrastructure and deliver fintech services aimed at establishing Singapore as a smart financial center, as part of the Singapore government’s Smart Nation initiative. The Hong Kong government has announced a $370 million Innovation and Technology Venture Fund aimed at encouraging private venture funds to increase their investments in technology startups through a matching process. Both MAS and InvestHK have established dedicated fintech teams.
This time of the year is significant not only because of the never-ending amount of Christmas log cakes (or puddings) that we guiltily consume without restraint at our offices, it is also when we sit together to talk about everything that has transpired in the past year. As we go into the festivities over the next few days, this is the time for us to pause and reflect on the things that have gone well, and those that haven’t quite gotten to the stage of being ideal.
For the financial services sector in particular, this means taking stock of your digital transformation journey by evaluating your progress in digital banking in the age of the customer.
At Forrester, we have done extensive research that involved speaking to incumbent banks globally and leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital banking strategy playbook. We have recently published the digital banking strategic plan, processes, and benchmark chapters.
Despite being geographically far away from the rest of the world, Australia's financial services sector has found its place on the world stage. Australian banks are some of the most innovative in the world. As our 2016 Global Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark has shown, some Australian banks have overtaken their global counterparts, with Westpac taking the coveted top spot.
The question that I often get asked from Australian digital banking teams is, "so what's next in financial services?"
And I think that's a great question. As uncertain economic conditions, wavering markets, and tight budgets continue to increase the pressure on Australian digital teams to deliver better experiences and increased sales through digital touchpoints, we believe that digital business executives have to drive digital transformation. And this means far more than simply developing a "digital strategy".
Digital banking executives must make mobile the hub of customer interactions, and not treat mobile as if it were just another channel. They should develop mobile banking as a platform to engage customers. To continue to win and retain mindshare and increase wallet share, the next step digital banking teams must focus on are ways to create new sources of value for their customers, not just meeting their basic needs.