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Trends like blockchain, mobile wallets and robo advisers will become fundamental technologies. Although the United States is still leading the way, Europe is rapidly becoming a major force in the world of fintech startups. These are the 4 fintech trends across Europe that will underpin the beginnings of this cashless economy — and the jobs that go with it.
Imagine an online digital ledger where users make and verify transactions instantly on a network without a central authority. By moving to an impartial blockchain system, any party who needs access to the data can get it online, when and wherever they need it.
For a long time already, specialists predict that this blockchain will revolutonise the financial sector. However, the technology can be used in any sector that wants to secure the exchange of data. The France-based company Woleet offers blockchain services to track, for example, the provenance of pharmaceuticals to prevent counterfeiting.
“A lot of big banks are now investing in block chain technology, to prevent losing revenue to startups in the future”, explains Christoph Trauttenberg, director of Michael Page in Austria. “There´s no doubt it will influence the demand for candidates.”
With blockchain technology, demand for relationship managers, wealth management advisers, finance and stock analysts will gradually transition to a greater demand for compliance, regulatory and finance policy specialists as well as accounting and tax professionals.
Robo advisers are a type of automated investment service that manage stocks and bonds for you, at a fraction of the price that wealth or relationship managers typically charge. According to a recent report by KPMG, robo advice platfoms will manage 2 trillion euros worth of assets by 2020. There are a number of European companies that already offer these services, like Scalable in Germany and Austria, Truewealth in Switzerland, Yomoni in France and Easyvest in Belgium.
While a relationship manager at a private bank typically spends 2,500 to 6,500 euros on a variety of activities from wining and dining to win over a new customer, a robo adviser offers the same service at a fraction of the cost can work for you 24/7 regardless of time zone and is free of emotional or irrational bias.
The growth of this industry will also lead to new job opportunities. Software engineers, mobile front and back-end developers, behavioural researchers and even cyber security professionals will be heavily in demand.
Banking is already shifting from online banking to mobile banking. According to research by Intelling, mobile wallet transactions in the European Union will grow 61.8 percent in the next four years. The Swedish mobile payments service Swish is already used by all the large banks in de Nordic countries. Start-ups like Kwixo and Buyster offer similar services in France. And multinationals like Apple, Google and Samsung have invested in the technology.
“Digitalisation is a big topic, because banks are facing heavy cost and revenue pressure,” says Stephan Surber, who build the Banking & Financial Services division of Michael Page in Switzerland. “Therefore fintech startups with a strong innovation focus will continue to expand. There are even fintech companies in Switzerland that are expanding their services to emerging markets, where there is a lack of bank. With the development of this new technology people can just pay with their mobile phone, even if they are in the middle of nowhere.”
The new technology will boost the number of job openings for IT-professionals, like software and mobile app developers, experience designers and big data analysts. But there will also be job opportunities for candidates with other professional backgrounds, says Minh Truong, head of the Sales & Marketing division of Michael Page Belgium.
He continues, “We recruited, for example, many candidates for Worldline, a company that develops solutions for digital payment. I´m sure we will have more of these sort of clients in the near future.”
Peer-to-peer lending, also known as P2P lending, matches lenders directly with borrowers. Since P2P lending companies offering these services operate entirely online, they can run with lower overheads and provide the service more cheaply than traditional financial institutions. According to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, France, Germany and the Netherlands are the biggest markets for P2P lending, followed by Finland, Spain, Belgium and Italy.
“This is definitely a growing industry in Europe”, says Christoph Trauttenberg. “We are currently working with a company that offers this kind of services and collaborates with bigger banks to give smaller loans to their customers: up to 200.000 euro. We helped them in finding a number of country managers.”
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