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What’s Next for FinTech Leaders? - Part Two

5 min read

The FinTech industry has a reputation for moving at pace. But for leaders in the space to keep up, trust must be at the center of their decision-making process.

Adopting an intentional leadership style and being adaptable to mindset shifts are essential in an industry that demands more from its leaders than ever before. In part two of this article, our global FinTech team spoke to C-suite industry leaders to discuss the evolving imperative of regulators to be committed to rooting out bad actors, and the importance of building and retaining trust in the industry. Read part one of What's Next for FinTech Leaders series here.

Trust as the foundation

Technological advancements and consumer behaviors are changing how people expect to buy goods and services. For the FinTech industry to continue to grow sustainably, leaders must commit to building trust in these changes. Whether this is trust in the technology, the duty of the regulators to balance the market, or FinTech businesses to prove their security and integrity, leaders are facing an uphill struggle to quell consumer concerns in the payments space. To achieve sustainable growth, leaders must find ways to manage the risks associated with the current shifts in the market. 

Below are a few notable perspectives shared by the leaders: 

Smaller banks find it easier to deal with regulators. With larger banks, it is much more difficult because of the legacy systems. If you want 80-90% of customers benefiting, you need regulation that will help big banks innovate. - COO, Data Analytics.

I am supportive of blockchain and that new technology. You have achieved trust at zero cost and yes, they did have a crisis, but that was because of centralized bad actors. Decentralized finance has a lot to offer and promise but still have to evolve the technology to have higher transactions per second. - CCO, Blockchain.

Diversity of thought is essential in ensuring FinTechs stay ahead of the curve. But getting buy-in from the board can be a tricky job that requires bravery from leaders to challenge groupthink mentalities. - NED and Investor, Payments and FinTech.

Embracing intentional leadership

Bravery emerged as a central theme from discussions surrounding intentional leadership. While technical skillsets are foundational to getting the job done, true leadership demands the ability to represent voices of various stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, employees and the broader community.  

Intentional leadership hinges on three key elements:

  1. Purpose: Acknowledging individual, team and organizational purposes fosters coherence and avoids the trap of groupthink, encouraging diverse perspectives. 
  2. Profile: Continuously assessing and diversifying the leadership team to match the organization’s operating environment and stage of growth ensures robust decision-making and innovation. 
  3. Community: Building a community of professionals committed to identifying and addressing behavioral challenges fosters a culture of growth, innovation and trust. 

Shifting mindsets for progress

The way to enact meaningful change in the FinTech sector is through a shift in mindset towards intentional and brave leadership; each leadership team must define and tailor its mindset to address specific organizational challenges and priorities.

The evolution from analog to digital, illustrated by advancements such as the introduction of ATMs in the 1960s, underscores the transformative power of technology in the financial sector. However, the pace of technological advancement often outstrips the ability of financial services to adapt.

The delicate balance between innovation and regulation underscores the need for alignment of incentives and proactive industry measures to prevent regulatory intervention. While regulators play a pivotal role in stabilizing the financial landscape, industry-led initiatives are vital in fostering innovation while curbing ‘bad actors’.

A recurring theme throughout the discussions was the need for greater diversity and inclusion in leadership teams. Our attendees emphasized the importance of embracing social mobility and diversity of thought in driving innovation and mitigating risks. Building cohesive teams with diverse backgrounds and experiences enhances decision-making and adaptability. To do this, leaders must consciously counteract inherent biases, especially in times of restructuring when people revert to what they know.

The conversations highlight the importance of intentional leadership, trust-building, and diversity in driving positive change. By embracing these principles, leaders can effectively navigate challenges, seizing opportunities for growth and innovation whilst establishing a more inclusive, resilient, innovative, and trusted FinTech ecosystem.

This article was authored in partnership with Richard Plaistowe, Principal in the Financial Services Practice at Odgers Interim. 



Get in touch. Follow the links below to discover more, or contact our dedicated leadership experts from your local Odgers Berndtson office here.   

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