As technology innovations permeate the Malaysian financial sector, industry doyens need to wake up – fast – to the opportunities that fintech entrepreneurs are creating while reshaping the the face of the country’s financial services landscape.
The long-time players will need to draw technological experiences from across other industries, and can adapt to fintech via the participation of various other stakeholders.
Maybank head of corporate development and innovation Amran Hassan said traditional banks are burdened with technological legacies that prevent them from quickly adapting to become consumer-focused service providers.
“We have limited channels bridging supply and demand, banking technology is not nimble enough, our customers are changing and wanting everything immediately and customised for their iPads instead of waiting for the branch to open at 9am. We are stuck with our legacy systems,” he said during a panel discussion at the World Capital Markets Symposium 2015.
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) launched the Alliance of Fintech Community (aFINnity@SC) at the symposium, to catalyse the development of fintech in the country through the participation of stakeholders.
SC chairman Ranjit Ajit Singh said policymakers and the private sector must both work together to push the growth of fintech.
“As a regulator, I believe we could play a facilitator’s role in a number of ways – be it by assisting businesses in navigating the regulatory environment, sponsoring accelerator programmes or strengthening the venture capital and private equity ecosystem to provide much-needed financing for fintech entrepreneurs,” he said at the opening of the symposium.
SC, as the chair of the Malaysian Venture Capital Development Council, will coordinate with other authorities to pursue key deliverables which include raising awareness, forming hubs to organise and nurture the fintech ecosystem and providing policy and regulatory clarity to promote responsible financial innovation.
Several stakeholders are being sought for this intiative. These include universities, government and even the military, to build talent and up-skill the current pool of traditional financial services human capital, financial expert Paul Schulte of Schulte Research noted.
“How many MBA programmes offer fintech? At government level there must be support to create technology courses and even trade courses,” Schulte commented about developing skillsets within the industry, while creating an environment for fintech to thrive.
The balance between innovation and regulation in the financial industry is a challenge for regulators, said managing director and head of markets and initiatives Asia-Pacific SWIFT, Philippe Dirckx.
“There is a thin line between encouraging innovation and regulating this space. You are always entering territory not covered by traditional industries. If you are too strict, you’ll kill innovation, if you are too open, you run all sorts of risk,” he said.
The World Capital Markets Symposium is held every two years by the SC.