Millennials who grew up in the era of iPhones, Twitter and eBay arrived at the fintech revolution with an immeasurable advantage over more experienced colleagues who began their careers when instant communication meant faxes, and the internet sounded like sci fi.
Now a new educational start up is looking to re-balance the scales. From September, the Centre for Finance, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) will be offering online "life time learning" courses that it claims will help the masses to navigate the complex and fast moving world of fintech.
“CFTE is designed for finance professionals who believe that jobs in finance will be totally transformed, and want to to learn the new skills of Finance 2.0,” says Huy Nguyen Trieu, a former Citigroup banker who co-founded CFTE with his wife Tram Anh Nguyen.
“For someone who works in a bank today, it’s very hard to know what they should learn, what is the impact of new technologies on their jobs, if blockchain is really important, what is big data, etc. That’s the objective of CFTE - to provide them with the relevant education so they can understand what’s happening, so they are not left behind.”
Mr Nguyen Trieu says that his venture - which boasts senior executives at HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group on its board - will also target “CEOs, senior executives and board members of banks and insurers - because there is a real need for the management of these institutions to understand what’s happening and to drive changes and help their employees upskill”.
A beta run of courses begins in July, ahead of a full launch in September with four modules, growing to 25 within its first year, taught by 50 industry experts. Mr Nguyen Trieu says he aims to put 5,000 people through their paces in the first year, but that the idea is to build a “scalable” platform that could do many multiples of that.
"The first objective I gave the team is to build a platform that can give the same quality and experience to 300,000 people than what I can do in a classroom of 30 people," says Mr Nguyen Trieu "Once we achieve that, we could train a huge number of people on the platform," he adds, citing the success of Coursera, a massive open online course platform which has grown to 26m registered users who can choose from 2,000 courses offered by 150 top universities and other educational institutes.
He cites a potential market size of millions, based on a survey that found that up to 47 per cent of finance workers believe technology is "putting their jobs at risk".
The couple have assembled a heavyweight board to help lure potential clients, including Christophe Chazot, HSBC’s global head of innovation, Ronit Ghose, Citi’s global head of banks’ research, Ericson Chan, CEO of Ping An Technology, and Vincent Desnot, CEO of Teach on Mars. The appointments will be unveiled at Money 2020 this week.
They join a board that already includes Claire Calmejane, director of innovation and digital excellence at Lloyds, and Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton School.
"We’re unique because we’re crossing different worlds which normally don’t intersect - from large banks to insurers to technology companies to startups to universities to regulators," says Nguyen Trieu.
He also draws a distinction between what his firm offers, and what's on offer from existing fintech programmes, like the Masters in Financial Technology launched by Glasgow's University of Strathclyde earlier this year.
"We don’t want to be just a simple platform for online learning. We want to drive the discussions on important social issues, such as the future of work, how does it impact the current structures of organisations, how do we get more diversity in finance, etc.
"We know that the transition to a tech-driven world will have many important social issues, and one of the answers is through education."
Further fintech fascination
It's all go go at Yoyo British mobile payments app Yoyo Wallet has another bevy of backers after a £12m funding round. German retailer Metro Group and prominent fund manager Neil Woodford are among the latest to sign up. The company, which is already processing 1m payments a month for its 400,000 registered users, hopes to use the money to finance expansion in Europe and the US.
Mexican magic The mobile payments revolution in Africa has long been proof positive that the world’s most advanced economies may not be the leaders of the fintech revolution. Now, a fintech accelerator has predicted that fintech will take 30 per cent of Mexico’s banking market in the next decade as consumers revolt against the long queues, high fees and low cash machine coverage offered by traditional finance. Hasta la vista old school banking.
Scalable bets The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, is putting its might behind Scalable Capital, a European online investment advisor. BlackRock, along with two venture capital houses, Holtzbrinck and Tengelmann, have put €30m into London-based Scalable. BlackRock’s share of the deal was not disclosed.
Hear more fintech views in the FT banking podcast
Bits and bobs
From Amsterdam with love Dutch fintech Adyen, one of Europe's biggest fintech companies, has secured a pan-European banking licence that allows it to bypass banks and process cross-border payments directly for its merchant customers, including many of the world's top e-commerce firms.
Cryptocurrency Bubble Initial Coin Offerings, the bitcoin version of an IPO, are growing in vogue. But Peter Denious, head of global venture capital at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, tells Bloomberg we’re in the midst of a virtual currency bubble, and like all bubbles, it will eventually burst.
Brexit Proof Two multi-million dollar fundraisings for UK-based fintechs - Soldo, which tracks employee spending for business accounts, and TrueLayer, which gives fintechs access to bank systems - show that the sector is defying the Brexit slump, Business Insider reports.
Turning Japanese Japan and Australia are opening the doors of fintech to each other. Finance regulators have signed off on a framework for co-operation allowing entry for financial technology firms in each other's markets.