The gap between disruptive FinTech visions and their tangible executions

Zoran Vasiljev Categories: Business Insights Date 09-Oct-2023 5 minute to read

The meteoric rise of FinTech in the last decade is not incidental. The advancements in the digital sphere unfolded, and so did FinTech's potential to drastically reshape the financial industry.

The Gap Between Disruptive Fintech Visions And Their Tangible Executions BLOG NEWS

    The new disruptors, armed with groundbreaking technology and new ideas, were committed to transforming the conservative sector. The aspirations were simple – to make finance more accessible, efficient, and user-centric. These new people spearheaded an era where traditional banking became obsolete and monetary transactions, investments, and savings became as simple as one click or swipe.

    However, while FinTech instigated notable implementations – the journey from the dream to tangible change came with its share of hurdles. This article highlights the gaps between FinTechs’ visionary potential and real-world execution. Let's dive in.

    Legacy systems: Embracing the new while tethered to the old

    The financial industry's legacy systems are like old trees with deep roots – they provide stability but little agility. Thanks to them, for decades, these systems have been the backbone of financial infrastructure, being reliable and time-tested. But in the age of FinTech, one might say they feel like a ball on the chain – limiting innovation and stifling growth.

    These systems are deeply integrated and cannot be ripped out or replaced. Should companies want to transition from them, they cannot do that simply – it would mean not only adopting new technologies but also transferring an immense amount of historical data without disruption. With their agile architecture and fast approach, FinTech startups have the unique ability to innovate rapidly. But their speed comes to a halt when they clash with these older systems. And, of course it does – it seems like you're fitting a square peg in a round hole. The challenge is clear – how can the financial industry leverage the power of agile technologies without being crushed by their past?

    A fragmented FinTech ecosystem and the need for unity

    Today's FinTech landscape resembles a bustling bazaar – apps are numerous, fragmented, and frequently isolated. Unfortunately, this stems from the very approach of rapid innovation, which aims to solve distinct challenges. But, in this industry, specialization is bad because it often leads to fragmented user experiences. Consumers need simplicity and coherence.

    The key to addressing this challenge is integration and interoperability, a unified ecosystem where various FinTech solutions can simultaneously interact and enhance customer experiences. To do that, there should be standardized protocols, collaborations, and even mergers. The move from a fragmented marketplace to a more cohesive financial market might lead to a win everyone hopes for.

    Technological limitations: Innovating within the bounds of today's technology

    The main problem with rapid technological innovations? Sometimes, the visions outpace the tools. This is especially true in the FinTech area – startup founders envision a future where everything is happening instantly – payments are instant, data processing is real-time, and AI anticipates our every need. However, the tech is often playing catchup with our visions. Issues occur when startups discover that the supporting technology is not yet there. Whether they face problems in real-time processing or the required computational power of algorithms, the road to innovation is often paved with technological speed bumps. But, we shouldn't see these limitations as a dead-end – they are an invitation to refine, iterate, and sometimes – to revolutionize.

    Navigating the ever-evolving regulatory challenges

    Groundbreaking aspirations of FinTech startups often bump into the tall walls of regulatory mandates. Even though the financial industry has experienced significant innovation, the sector remains one of the most heavily regulated global industries. And, of course, the reason for this is to protect the customer, keep the integrity of the markets, and maintain overall financial stability. But the regulations that were set in the pre-digital age often struggle to keep pace with the rapid tech advancements the industry is facing.

    FinTech startups eager to launch and scale often find themselves entangled in the extensive web of compliance, permissions, and licenses, leading to increasing costs and delays. Also, the same startups aim for a global footprint, which means – grappling with multiple regulatory regimes, each having its delicate nuances. However, it would be wrong to say that regulations are harmful; they are an essential part of the trust that the financial system thrives on. But, the main challenge lies in creating a fruitful and symbiotic relationship between the regulators and the startup world – a relationship where innovation will not be put on the back burner, and the security of the financial systems will be uncompromised.

    Trust and security concerns: Building and maintaining trust

    At the very foundation of the financial industry lies trust, but in the digital age, trust seems more fragile than ever. Even though the move to digital platforms brings both convenience and efficiency, it also opens Pandora's box of security issues. Threats are behind every corner – from data breaches and personal information leaks to phishing attacks.

    FinTech startups, eager to disrupt with new approaches, often find themselves amid numerous questions, the foremost being, "Can I trust this new FinTech company with my money?" FinTech companies must prioritize robust security measures, implement multi-factor authentication, and have regular audits to gain customers' trust.

    Besides implementing technological measures, companies also discover that they must be transparent and communicate effectively. The communication needs to focus on educating customers about approaches taken to safeguard their data and assets. Trust cannot be handed over; it needs to be earned with every transaction, day by day.

    The collaboration can lead to better FinTech realizations

    As highlighted before, roadblocks exist. But how can we bridge the gap between visionary promises and tangible execution? As always, the answer lies in collaboration.

    Navigating regulatory challenges, adapting legacy systems, becoming compliant, overcoming cultural differences, and integrating within fragmented ecosystems are not solo endeavors. With their vast market reach and resources, traditional financial institutions can become invaluable partners in supporting innovative startups. These partnerships can lead to shared tech solutions, creating a better ecosystem that benefits the customers.

    The future of FinTech shouldn't be characterized by competition but by collaboration.

    Cultural and organizational resistance to change

    As mentioned before, change doesn't come easy in the world of finance. Centuries of tradition have contributed to the fact that financial institutions often seem like massive ships – powerful but not agile. With FinTech innovations knocking on their doors, these institutions face challenges that are not just technological – but deeply cultural as well.

    Organizations often have a "this is how we've always done it" mindset with established hierarchies and tough-to-change habits. Such culture sees disruption suspiciously, considering it a threat and not an opportunity. But, it would be wrong to mistake it with malice – it is just a byproduct of the whole system. However, due to all the changes, there is also a pressing need for cultural transformation. One that would ensure a culture of continuous learning, cross-functional collaboration, and a mindset that embraces change. Only then could the financial giants truly start the transformation.

    Attracting and keeping clients in an age of option overload

    In today's market, it is challenging to acquire customers and even harder to retain one, thanks to FinTech, which presents consumers with endless options. While having plenty of choices is empowering, it can also be overwhelming, leading to the paradox of choice – too many choices might entice consumers to opt for none.

    The allure of newer platforms with better presence, which promise better usability and flashier features, is often enticing, which leads to diminishing brand loyalty. How do we conquer the modern consumer? The product should incorporate transparency, personalized experience, and trustworthiness at the foundational level. Focus on customer commitment – consistent delivery, customer-centric approach, and robust security measures. In the age of option overload, this is the way.

    FinTech's journey from vision to execution

    FinTech's journey has indeed been remarkable. From its early stages as a disruptive vision, it successfully navigated the maze of challenges and is evolving into a transformational force reshaping the financial landscape. Sure, there are bumps on the road and gaps between aspirations and outcomes. But if these gaps are addressed in a collaborative and transparent manager - there can be opportunities down the road.

    Opportunities that will lead to further innovation, adaptation, and growth. As FinTech continues its march, it sheds light on the future where these visions are completely realized – a future where disruptive spirit built a more inclusive, efficient, and innovative financial world.

    If you need a FinTech software solution partner with over 15 years in the industry, reach out to us at contact, and let’s turn your vision into reality.

    Zoran Vasiljev Author
    Zoran Vasiljev Partner and President Americas & APAC

    Zoran is a serial entrepreneur and C-level executive, with over 26 years of international management and operational experience across different industries.