Boaz Yaari, founder and CEO of Sharegain
Not satisfied merely being a buzzword, and archetype of cool, ‘fintech’ has officially made it into the dictionary, and rightly so. The wave of innovation disrupting and challenging the financial sector has been relentless post the 2008 financial crisis.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fintech as “products and services that employ newly developed digital and online technologies in the banking and financial services industry.”
However, digitalisation does not create value by itself, it is of course a means to an end. To win and retain market share is also about providing a wholesome client experience and a seamless customer journey and this is what the successful fintechs have been focused on. As a result, financial products and services have become much more accessible and available over the past decade, with more choices than ever.
The digital transformation has enabled us to enjoy better financial management tools – from mobile payments to investing to cryptocurrency. This is powering the way people engage and use financial services. These digitalised and nimble offerings mean that young businesses can get their next loan from nimble fintech entities such as iwoca, Market Invoice or Spotcap instead of a legacy laden bank. Business transactions can be processed effortlessly by the likes of Square, Stripe or iZettle. Rather than knocking on the door of the traditional investors, you can now turn to OakNorth, Kickstarter or Gust for a more seamless experience and focused outcome. For top notch FX/money transfer solutions, and no transfer fees, there’s Transferwise, Azimo and WorldRemit.
Banking has also gone digital – you no longer need to go into a branch as you can do it all and more from the comfort of your armchair. The bank-customer relationship is changing also. Data analytics mean banks can better understand customer needs and anticipate future ones. Banking personalisation adds the ability to deliver insights to customers in a contextual manner, which provides a far superior user experience and better outcomes for all, let alone cheaper services. Why not use Monzo, Fido or Starling?
Providing good services to demanding wealth management customers has always been a challenge. The cost of getting the bespoke thoughts of a qualified adviser/asset manager for people with not so bulging wallets has been largely uneconomic. That is changing. Today you can invest your money with Nutmeg, Scalable, Wealthify and not pay for investment advice. Offerings such as Oval Money or Moneybox will help you manage your money better and save more, and put some away for a rainy day, all from the comfort of an app.
Most fintechs have understood that digital capabilities which focus on a superior client experience, and the savvy use of data, must be at the heart of any business model. Robust regulation hasn’t stopped them from focusing emphatically on simplification, reduction of friction while being as transparent as possible and putting the client at the centre of it all. So, you don’t just get a great app, you get an offering that exudes simplicity, engagement and transparency. They jump the user seamlessly through the hoop of the complexities associated with opening a bank account, buying insurance, making cross-border payments and taking business loans. Not convinced? Just ask their millions of happy clients.
At Sharegain, simplicity, transparency and control have always been the pillars of our offering. We decided to bring these values to owners of stocks, bonds, ETFs and enable them to benefit from the hidden value of their portfolio, with a great user experience and a full alignment of interest.
For us simplicity and control mean that with a few clicks you can control all your lending activity in real-time – which securities to lend, to whom and how long, and see all the activity. With Sharegain, you choose your level of involvement – you can approve each loan, or set to auto mode and let our tech work for you. Naturally you can decide to terminate the loan at any time, and we will recall the securities for you.
Using Sharegain, or any other fintech disruptor, will eventually come down to the cost, value and experience we bring, in simple and smart way. This is the natural evolvement of financial services. The ones who don’t focus on the seamless and simple, and delivering value and a superb customer experience, risk becoming extinct in this digital age.