FinTech: Preparing for our Digital Future

Dr. Sukudhew Singh, former senior official at Bank Negara moderated this session alongside with a group of panelists, Gopi Ganesalingam, Vice President – Enterprise Development, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Global Acceleration & Innovation Network (GAIN) and Jeroen Kok, Executive Director, Head of Treasury Services Malaysia and Vietnam, JPMorgan.

FinTech is technology in the financial innovation impacting every sector in the economy and the financial sector is one of the most regulated. Regulators are cautious because a disruption in the financial sector affects not just the financial sector but also the economy. While financial institutions or FinTech innovators are enthusiastic about innovation, regulators are concern with fraud, scam, data security, money laundering, tax evasion.

It is important for FinTech innovators to realise that when it comes to the financial systems, the pillar supporting the financial system is public confidence. Without that, it is very difficult to have a sustainable, viable financial system.

MDEC champions digital economy in Malaysia and contributes 18.2 percent of Malaysia’s GDP. One of the things MDEC would like to do this year is to open a FinTech Centre in Kuala Lumpur where they want to have specialised accelerators, invite mentors, entrepreneurs on board. They would like to ideate together and to create a sandbox environment.

JPMorgan, on the other hand, is present in 14 countries and they spend about USD9.6 billion a year on technology. The innovation in this area, there is nothing new about financial technology but the pace of that innovation has rapidly increased. They see a lot of these retail components bubbling up in essentially in corporate requirements. So a lot of their investments are geared towards optimising transaction banking for corporate customers and financial institutions.

In summary, disruptive innovation is impacting the financial industry value chain from payments and billing technology, retail and consumer banking, insurance, money transfer and remittance, blockchain, artificial intelligence and banking infrastructure, not to mention cybersecurity, the list goes on. China, India and many players are making their presence
known in what was a traditional arena. What lies ahead and what pathways are countries, companies and entrepreneurs laying down.