FinTech, in a nutshell, means the integration of financial services and technology.
This emerging business has ample opportunities to expand every day and lots of graduates hope to get into it. However, it is important for graduates to first understand not only what job opportunities are available, but also the development of the entire market to get on this high-speed rail.
This blog provides you with some insights as to what the current FinTech environment in Hong Kong looks like, what jobs are of the highest demand currently and what skill sets employers are demanding from graduates.
The Hong Kong government has been actively developing Hong Kong’s FinTech industry. HKMA has led several initiatives to boost the industry’s evolution and growth. Moves ranging from the setup of the FinTech Innovation Lab by the HKMA and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute to further cooperate between the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) recently are all signs of support from the government.
Concerning the current situation, Hong Kong is working towards a more collaborative approach instead of being a distributor itself like other fintech hubs such as London and Singapore. Hong Kong has a great portion of startups in wealth tech (22%) and cybersecurity areas (15%), which are the focus of the market currently. Graduates should understand this market trend and try to equip themselves with corresponding skill sets required from the job opportunities arising from these areas.
It is important for graduates to know the job opportunities available to better plan their career pathways. The most in-demand FinTech jobs now will be those in the wealth tech and cybersecurity areas, including data specialists, cybersecurity experts and blockchain developers.
There is a large number of financial transactions occurring in Hong Kong’s financial market every day. To better serve the client’s needs, there is an increasing demand for data specialists who not only can organize and analyze data but most importantly, to offer recommendations to clients about what they should do. The ubiquitous presence of the internet boosts the development of financial technology, but at the same time it creates new cybercriminals and they have caused malicious threats to fin-tech startups. It is estimated that cybercrimes cost companies about $17 million annually. These new cybercriminals would harm Hong Kong’s reputation of its well-established financial system, therefore the requirement for cybersecurity expertise is growing continuously and those equipped with relevant skill sets are likely to be at an advantage.
Blockchain technology could improve the financial experience of both banks and customers by offering services of higher efficiency, security and quality. The HKMA and ASTRI launched the FinTech Career Accelerator Scheme (FCAS) in 2016 aiming to sustainably nurture local talents to meet the demand of blockchain developers in Hong Kong. Blockchain developers will continue to play a vital role in the development of Hong Kong’s fin-tech ecosystem.
We can see a bright future for the FinTech industry in Hong Kong, but what does it take to get into this emerging industry?
Joining the Institute of Financial Technologists of Asia (IFTA) and qualifying for the Certificate in Finance and Technology (CFT) is the inevitable first step that everyone would take. Certifications and tech aside, another important skill to possess would be soft skills. The ability to communicate your tech knowledge with your users like traders and brokers are essential. It means little if you have done incredible work but no one can understand it! You also have to be creative and flexible to come up with solutions to unexpected challenges and events in this constantly changing industry. The ability to work with different people will be a definite advantage as you will be working with people from different sectors in a fin-tech company.
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