Technological innovation has turned the financial services sector on its head in recent years, with new apps, software and cloud-based tech changing the way we work.But, as fintech skills become increasingly sought after, what can you do to secure your future career? Here, Chris Stappard, Managing Director of Edward Reed Recruitment,talks about the skills you’ll need to successful switch from finance to fintech.
Financial technology (fintech) is a new sector of finance which uses modern technologies to make managing money easier, both for businesses and consumers. Lots of banks and financial service providers are now starting to incorporate tech into their offerings, from mobile banking and insurance, to cryptocurrency and investment apps. Additionally, advances in technology have seen a number of traditional finance sectors roles — like admin, payroll, credit lending and credit risk management jobs — become automated in recent years.
As a result of all this rapid change, traditional finance roles are becoming scarcer. However, the fintech sector is currently expanding very quickly, with plenty of roles up for grabs at banks, investment software companies and other app-based start-ups. By switching to a fintech role, you can effectively future-proof your career and gain skills that will help you to stand out in an increasingly tech-focused employment market.
Switching to an entirely new role can be a daunting prospect, but fortunately there’s quite a lot of overlap between the two sectors, so it’s likely that you’ll be able to leverage many of your existing skills to help you switch to a role in the fintech sector. If that sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, below I’ll be going through just some of the ways you can transfer from finance to fintech to make the process a little easier.
Find areas that are most suited to those in finance
Because the areas are so closely linked, there are a lot of new opportunities available for those who are already in the finance sector. These include roles in banking, insurance, investment management, accounting, credit risk management and compliance. But where are these roles?
There are many start-up companies that are seizing the opportunity of fintech, so these might seem like a good option to go for. However, like a lot of young companies, not all of them will be in it for the long term, which means you’ll need to be careful when you’re deciding which roles to apply for.
Make sure you ask any potential employers what their intentions are for the future of the company. Do they seem realistic? Are they inline with your own? If you’re ever in any doubt about the sustainability of the business, it’s best to apply somewhere else. If you’re not fully committed to the company and there’s a lack of confidence in your future, this is going to show in your work. Plus, you don’t want to find out that your instincts were right further down the line.
However, it’s also worth noting that some current, more traditional financial companies are turning to fintech in order to compete with these new start-ups, so there could be some roles for you there, too.
Make the most of transferrable skills
Because it’s still in its early stages, there’s a large global skills gap for candidates in fintech. Although a deep understanding of technology would be beneficial, it’s certainly not essential. Your current role in finance has prepared you with a lot of transferable skills that many candidates with a background in tech and software design may not have, which sets you in good stead for a role in the fintech industry.
Communication, adaptability, management, creativity and problem solving are among some of the most highly desired skills by fintech recruiters, and they’re definitely on the lookout for candidates from the financial sector. Things like cyber- and financial security, risk management, blockchain development and experience in data visualisation and statistics are all vital skills for fintech, and you may just have them.
Plus, by having previous experience in finance, you’re already equipped with the knowledge of where things can go wrong, and it’s this knowledge that recruiters are looking for. They want someone who can help them identify where their technology might be limited and where there are opportunities for future developments, which means a good understanding of the industry is important.
Even if you’re not currently fully committed to transferring over to the fintech sector just yet, it’s important that you still keep abreast of any important industry news and developments. Sign up for newsletters and attend relevant seminars so you can keep up to date with roles that might be ideal for you,as well as any new technologies as and when they’re implemented. This will make you more marketable as a candidate when you’re faced with future fintech opportunities, and you may even meet some important contacts along the way.
Social media can be a great place to network, especially with the likes of LinkedIn becoming more popular in the professional environment. You can use this to look into interesting fintech start-ups, potential employers and likeminded job-hunters who can steer you in the right path. These people may also share interesting articles regarding fintech news, which means you can easily keep up with developments on your lunch break.
The future of finance is tied up with technology, so expanding your skillset is a sensible way to help ensure you can compete as the industry advances. The finance sector has already equipped you with a lot of desirable skills to make you marketable to fintech recruiters, so it’s just a matter of finding them. Then, once you’ve secured a role, you can begin expanding your skills and knowledge as you gain experience.