Highly-skilled Workforce, And Strong Demand For Innovative Financial Services Offerings Propel Fintech Growth In Australia-Australian University Don
DR. DIMITRIOS SALAMPASIS is the Director, Master of Financial Technologies, FinTech Capability Leader and Senior Lecturer of FinTech Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Swinburne School of Business, Law and Entrepreneurship in Australia. He is an award-winning global thought leader, educator, researcher and sought-after keynote speaker, passionate about FinTech, global affairs, sustainability, and exponential technologies nexus.
Dr. Dimitrios Salampasis’s research interests revolve around the organizational, human, technological and ESG sides of innovation and open innovation in financial services and FinTech innovation. His areas of specialist expertise, research, teaching, industry engagement, policy and advisory work revolve around the emergence and development of FinTech-enabled business models, Blockchain and digital assets responsible innovation, corporate sustainability and human rights, quantum computing for business, digital transformation in banking and FinTech education, along with the relevant global FinTech-related regulatory and policy interventions.
Dr Dimitrios Salampasis’s interview with CEOWORLD magazine focused on the next day in the FinTech development industry and the level of CEOs’ readiness to face the new challenges in this field.
CEOWORLD MAGAZINE: In your experience, which three technologies will prevail in the FinTech development within the next ten years?
DR. DIMITRIOS SALAMPASIS: Based on my experience, research, and industry engagement I believe the following three emerging technologies that highly will play a pivotal role and with substantial impact on the future of FinTech within the next ten years:
Blockchain technology even though it is a highly-debatable technology, it has already shown its transformative potential since it enables secure, fast, transparent, and immutable transactions without the need for intermediaries. Its decentralized nature allows for greater efficiency, security, and lower costs in areas such as payments, trade finance, and asset management.
Artificial Intelligence is already transforming the new era of financial services and FinTech innovation with cutting-edge application applications in areas such as fraud detection, customer service, and investment management. The continuous advancements in artificial intelligence especially in relation to generative AI developments will enable further integration of data and analytics innovation in financial services enabling more personalized and efficient solutions for customers.
Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize financial services by offering significant advantages over classical computing in certain areas such as optimization, cryptography, fraud detection and risk management. By tackling certain classes of large-scale combinatorial problems, the transformative nature of quantum computing will allow for powerful simulations, which can help financial institutions not only deliver on investment portfolio optimization, forecasting computational models and financial forecasting models (Monte Carlo simulations) but also optimize resources and minimize CO2 emissions footprint and perform climate-related calculation and long-term weather predictions for insurance and risk management.
CM: How would you describe the FinTech industry in Australia?
DDS: The Australian FinTech ecosystem has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, driven by favourable regulatory policies, a highly-skilled workforce, and strong demand for innovative financial services offerings. The ecosystem consists of various players, including startups, established financial institutions, investors, regulators, and technology providers. According to the 2022 KPMG FinTech Landscape the Australian FinTech ecosystem captures a total of 775 active FinTechs. Due to the current global business and macroeconomic conditions the ecosystem stakeholders are going through a level of consolidation to ensure maintaining an enhanced market position and strong long-term performance. The main Australian FinTech ecosystem stakeholders are:
Startups: The Australian FinTech ecosystem is dominated by startups, which are developing innovative financial products and services at the nexus of cutting-edge and emerging technologies. These startups cover a wide range of sectors, including payments, lending, wealth management, insurance, Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and regulatory technology.
Incumbents: Established banks and financial institutions are also active within the Australian FinTech ecosystem, with many launching their own digital platforms, along with, partnering with or investing in startups to leverage their technology and expertise.
Investors: The Australian FinTech ecosystem has attracted significant investment from venture capital firms, private equity firms, angel investors and corporate investors. This investment has fuelled the growth of startups and has enabled several startups to scale their operations both within Australia and overseas. According to the 2022 KPMG FinTech Landscape the first half of 2022 recorded over $29 billion of investment into the sector.
Regulators and policy-makers: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Treasury (Australian Government) are the main regulatory and policy-making institutions overseeing the developments within the financial services and FinTech space. Their work is to promote innovation while also ensuring that consumer protection and financial stability are maintained. FinTech Australia, Blockchain Australia and the RegTech Association are the peak bodies whose members aim to promote FinTech and Blockchain innovation, good corporate practice, and compliance.
Technology providers: Technology providers play a crucial role within the Australian FinTech ecosystem providing the infrastructure and tools that enable startups and incumbents to develop and deliver their products and services. These providers include cloud computing companies, cybersecurity firms, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, automation, Blockchain and data analytics firms.
CM: Can you tell us more about the FinTech programme at the Swinburne University of Technology?
DDS: The Master of Financial Technologies, is the 1st of its kind of programme in Australia co-created with highly-esteemed partners incl. Bendigo Bank, Judo Bank, IBM Research Australia, Banxa, Tableau and Inaam. It encompasses the applied study of data-oriented and smart technologies allowing technical and non-technical business leaders including those in the C-Suite, policy-makers, regulators, and consultants to obtain comprehensive knowledge and specific cutting-edge strategic and functional skills on the underlying technology aspects and translate them into FinTech-enabled business models in a seamless transition to future financial technologies innovations. The course aims at bridging the communication gap between business/financial services managers and technologists/data scientists and encourage the curation of the best-in-class FinTech talent that can grasp both business and technology by supporting the mentorship and growth of an effective and successful Australian and Global FinTech Innovation Ecosystem. The Master of Financial Technologies has been recognized as a postgraduate exemplar of the integration of the SDGs in curricula in the 2022 report of the Swinburne School of Business, Law and Entrepreneurship submitted to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).
The course is part of a suite of postgraduate degrees that make up the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship and the Swinburne School of Business, Law, and Entrepreneurship, which has been awarded the AACSB International accreditation, a globally-recognised hallmark that is given to only 5 per cent of the world’s schools offering business degrees at the bachelor level or higher. These postgraduate degrees combine practical theory with experiential learning, merging traditional skills with innovative thinking, and taking a design-led approach to solving business problems and challenges. The Master of Financial Technologies students are immersed within a breadth of experiential university-industry co-created coursework grounded on the intersection of entrepreneurship, innovation, finance, strategic technology management, data analytics, computer science and emerging technologies. Students are provided with functional tools and methods to identify prospective opportunities in their organisation and become confident in establishing how FinTech innovations can fit within their organisation strategy, along with, understanding and dealing with the various ethical and legal issues.
CM: Are CEOs and business leaders well- prepared to face the future challenges of FinTech development?
DDS: CEOs and business leaders are required to operate within a highly complex, interconnected, uncertain and volatile global business environment. It is very critical for CEOs and business leaders to be adaptable within constantly changing organizational dynamics and being able to successfully navigate through multi-disciplined, culturally diverse, and cross-organizational groups, along with, ensuring smooth and productive collaborations with other C-Level Executives, CEOs and Boards of leading corporations, start-ups and government officials leading global innovation and change. The emergence of financial technologies has stimulated CEOs and business leaders to build greater awareness, quality and productive relationships with influential external stakeholders (government, other research institutions, business, and community groups) by identifying synergistic opportunities, incubating new strategic opportunities, understanding the growth, foreign investment, and conversation of policymaking, ESG and regulatory implications and their impact on business models and organizational transformations.
The level of preparedness of CEOs and business leaders to face the future challenges of FinTech development varies depending on the individual and the organization they lead. What is crucial is that CEOs and business leaders can define their strategies, identify, and co-create clear value propositions, along with, derisking and realizing the broader strategic value and performance of digital FinTech innovation, Blockchain, Quantum Computing, 5G, Web 3.0 (incl. the Metaverse) and cryptographic asset offerings for their ongoing commercial growth, taking always into account the relevant global regulatory and policy changes. It is very important to highlight that the challenges posed by FinTech, and technological innovation are not solely technological; they are also regulatory, ethical, and sociological. In this context, it is very important for CEOs and business leaders to adopt an open mind and holistic approach looking beyond traditional and prevailing narratives to embrace to emerging era of FinTech and digital innovation. This realization requires a proactive mentality, leaving behind slow adaptation and resistance to change practices, to ensure a transient advantage and better preparation to face all these emerging and still unknown opportunities and challenges of FinTech and digital innovation.