FinTech innovation under threat from skills shortage

With research highlighting the digital skills deficit that the UK is currently facing, Fintech companies must be selective about the skills they employ in-house.

This is according to Phil Bindley, CTO at The Bunker, who argues that Fintechs should focus their attention on developing a great product, rather that the platform on which it is delivered.

“The companies that are really disrupting the financial industry are those that are ploughing their time and energy into innovative product development, as opposed to the management of infrastructure.”

“Ultimately, Fintechs need to focus on making their products and software as great as they need to be to attract customers.”

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As Innovate Finance, the body representing the Fintech sector in the UK, puts its plans together for the next “Big Bang”, research from Harvey Nash shows that 65% of CIOs and technology leaders are suffering from a technology skills shortage.

Bindley confirms that there “is undoubtedly a digital skills shortage in the UK and this is something that threatens to derail the pace of Fintech innovation. Companies within this space need a lot more than just software development skills to build the infrastructure that delivers digital financial technology services”.

This deficit presents a real challenge for Fintechs, who may struggle to drive innovation without access to the relevant skills and talent.

For Bindley, Fintechs have two choices when it comes to addressing this obstacle. They can either compete for the skilled staff needed to manage infrastructure internally. Or they can find a trusted partner who can help plug the skills gap by taking on this responsibility.

The number of skilled individuals are already in short supply and looking forward a change in the tide may seem unlikely. Britain’s “firm” departure from the EU, combined with the government’s dilly dallying over its Government Digital Strategy cast the future of the skilled individual in doubt, which will be a worry to the technology industry and the UK as a whole.

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Bindley predicts that as competition rises for “infrastructure experts, operating systems experts and digital security experts”, organisations will need to “make tough decisions about the skills they adopt in-house and they decide to outsource.”

In the financial services market this is an even tougher decision, because it is highly regulated. This means, according to Bindley, that it is essential for Fintechs “to conduct due diligence with regards to their outsourcing arrangements”.

“Those using a cloud services provider (CSP) must prove to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that they are not introducing any degree of risk to the financial services environment, so opting for a provider who has a pedigree in compliance and security is vital.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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