Finance, the nucleus of economic development, provides a strong front for the implementation of innovation-driven development strategies. Having employed the same static, highly profitable business models for decades now, banks and insurers today find themselves confronted by innovators seeking to disrupt their businesses. There seems to be no end to diversity, be it in the form of crowd funding, peer-to-peer lenders, mobile payments, bitcoin, or robo-advisers, each one of them vying for sky-high valuations.
Yet, some might insist that they have heard this tune before, specifically in the 90's, as the direct banks and “digi-cash” captured the imagination of journalists and investors alike, only to ultimately pop like a once over inflated balloon. It is owing to the important role that trust, scale and regulatory know-how has frequently played in this space that the financial services industry has been impervious to past assaults by innovators. However, past performance may not necessarily be an indicator of future success and a lot remains to be seen.
As a consequence of the global economy undergoing substantial changes in 2016, financial technology has come into spotlight. It is in this regard that we wish for the discussion to focus on the following key points:
1. The scope, adaptation and sustainability of technological changes such as financial and blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence, etc. in the financial sector
2. The importance and feasibility of investment to sustain the changes and further the benefits if any
3. Will the forces of change compel the big names in financial sector to rethink their business models in some very fundamental ways?
4. The ways in which the innovative nature of businesses can be protected to incorporate these changes, yet keep risks in check
5. How to derive the best out of the current situation, the plan of action and the way forward ?