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Which fintechs will have the biggest impact in 2019, and why?

Robert Roley, senior vice president, managing director and General Manager, SS&C Advent.

We spoke to Robert Roley, senior vice president, managing director and General Manager, SS&C Advent. Roley said: “Investment management applications leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) will be the biggest fintech trend to watch from now on.  For many years, the introduction of technology in finance produced scale and efficiency.  However, it hasn’t been a consistently linear process and relatively few developments have truly leapt us forward.  The introduction of the PC was one and adoption of the cloud and cloud-native applications are some of the more recent examples. The dramatic progress AI represents is much like some of the big innovations of the past, if not bigger.  It’s not just greater scale that AI represents, but its potential to enable significantly better (and faster) decisions, client service, operations, compliance, etc. all of which are can be critical revenue drivers and cost reducers.”

How can you encourage the mass adoption of Fintech?

Roley said: “For the most part, the financial services industry is already a major adopter and user of fintech, however, much of this adoption and use is of technology from 10, 20+ years ago.  Motivating factors that will spur the industry forward to adoption of the latest fintech includes:

  1. Making the best, most-informed investment decisions possible, which requires access to timely and accurate data
  2. Keeping clients and winning new ones, which means having the ability to provide insightful, frequent digital engagement
  3. Seeking efficiencies to comply with more comprehensive regulations by leveraging robotic process automation (RPA)

Are legacy institutions agile enough to keep pace with changing demands and innovations?

Roley said: “Some are, and some aren’t.  When it comes to artificial intelligence, older institutions have one big advantage, which is a track record.  They have years-and-years of history and large existing client bases (and datasets) from which to gain new insights and optimize processes.  That said, they also have one big disadvantage, which is with all that history often comes organisational inertia that has to be overcome.  Having teams fully focused on projects that truly move the needle can overcome organisational inertia and take advantage of the size and history of larger company’s offer.

How can companies and institutions encourage financial inclusion and education?

Roley said: “We’ve already seen fintech have this effect.  For example, think about the barriers to doing business with Acorns or Robinhood. Other than needing access to the internet, a bank account and a minimal amount of money, companies like these make it very easy to be an investor. Compare this to 20 years ago when access to investment products was more expensive and cumbersome so the barriers to entry were much higher. Since fintech firms tend to be extremely automated and scalable, their costs can be driven down so low that they can do business with almost anyone, creating greater access and therefore inclusion.”

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