Perspectives from Boyden’s FinTech Experts
Lopez: Are there any notable executive talent trends within the fintech industry? For example, are there particular skill sets or backgrounds that are in high demand for fintech leadership roles?
Wong (China): In the fintech industry, specific technical skill sets are required in certain areas. However, for leadership roles, knowledge holds more importance than technical skills. Fintech is a driving force for innovation in global financial services, and leaders must implement a digital transformation strategy to navigate this evolving landscape. While the traditional "people, process, and technology" pillars are crucial, behavioral skills play an equally significant role. Understanding the DNA of innovation entails networking, experimenting, discovery skills, observing, and questioning. Additionally, cognitive skills are necessary to consolidate the business's thinking. Given the diverse range of fintech platforms such as e-payment, online banking, trading, crypto, insurance, etc., leaders within the fintech sector should have a strong grasp of regulations and policies to ensure a seamless transformation process.
Landgrebe (Austria): It is evident that this new ecosystem demands a diverse range of holistic business acumen, process competence, and cross-sectorial know-how. Various competencies, including a deep understanding of banking and IT, need to align with B2B and B2C experts from diverse sectors such as healthcare, transport, insurance, real estate, and many others.
Lopez: Are there any challenges or obstacles that fintech companies face in attracting and retaining top executive talent?
Landgrebe (Austria): Top management will face the challenge of bridging diverse cultures and academic backgrounds, fostering diversity and heterogeneity while enabling agile and innovative collaboration within teams. However, considering the highly promising growth prospects that arise from these new formats, it is certainly worth making extra efforts to step out of individual comfort zones and rethink the future of business.
Ignozzi (U.S.): One of the key challenges is the inherent uncertainty and rapidly changing nature of the industry. In such an environment, the ability of leaders to navigate through ambiguity and identify market opportunities or create new ones becomes crucial. Additionally, internal barriers within organizations, such as resistance to change or lack of alignment with the company's vision, can hinder the attraction and retention of top talent.
Wong (China): The clients themselves need to be certain about the type of talent they are seeking. The clients' knowledge of fintech is crucial in identifying the right talent. The fintech environment is rapidly evolving, and with it, the risks are also increasing. The challenge lies in finding the right talent from a limited pool of candidates who possess the necessary skills to meet the company's requirements. Nowadays, fintech encompasses more than just software, hardware installation, programming, and computer skills. It also includes areas such as data analytics, big data, AI, and digitalization. In addition to technical skills, candidates should have an understanding of regulatory requirements. For example, if a bank plans to launch cryptocurrency trading, the talent should be well-versed in the product, the bank's capabilities, and monetary regulatory requirements. Given the fast pace of fintech advancements, it will be even more challenging to find candidates with the right skills for clients. To retain top talent, offering attractive compensation is essential, along with providing clear career prospects and aligning with the company's strategy.
Lopez: Are fintech companies addressing the issue of diversity and inclusion in their leadership ranks?
Ignozzi (U.S): In all aspects of the organization, prioritizing diversity is essential not only for a strong talent strategy but also for overall organizational health. This is particularly critical in the fintech industry, where shockingly low levels of diversity in leadership positions and among funders continue to persist. Companies can tap into a wider range of perspectives and experiences, fostering innovation and driving better business outcomes by addressing this disparity.
Wong (China): Globally, the fintech industry has a long way to go in terms of achieving diversity and inclusion (D&I). Across Asia however, most companies in the region have been actively embracing diversity and inclusivity for years. Many regularly review their D&I policies and programs to ensure progress. Some larger companies have even begun tying executive compensation to diversity goals, recognizing that financial incentives can contribute to talent sustainability. These initiatives demonstrate a commitment to fostering a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive environment in the fintech industry.
Lopez: How important is company culture in attracting and retaining top fintech executives?
Wong (China): Companies that possess a strong reputation and provide a high-quality working environment are more effective at attracting top talent and retaining employees. The fintech industry is highly competitive, and a company's brand image is influenced by its corporate culture, which, in turn, affects its branding efforts. Marketing plays a crucial role in driving business success. While monetary incentives are advantageous for attracting and retaining employees and boosting productivity, they are not the sole factors for fintech executives. Corporate culture, alongside monetary incentives, holds significant importance. Fintech companies strive not only to meet market needs but also to embody their market values for their users. A fast-paced environment is a prerequisite in the fintech world, influencing productivity, satisfaction, efficiency, and motivation. Such an environment thrives on teamwork, making it crucial to foster a culture of collaboration to engage everyone in shaping corporate values.
Ignozzi (U.S.): A well-defined value and purpose proposition can bring clarity to your people, organization, and culture. By focusing on your purpose, you can improve external communication with stakeholders and clients. Using a purpose proposition to create clarity and alignment benefits everyone and fosters a sense of connectedness and inclusion.