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The FinTech plan for Communications Professionals

The first ever World FinTech Report 2017, collated by Capgemini, was released in November and it has a number of eye opening findings that pop the lid on the future of traditional and FinTech firms.

For communications professionals in the financial services space, these findings should be of particular interest as they paint a clear picture of how customers view, use and engage with their financial services institutions as well as what they expect from these firms now and going forward.

Some of the highlights from the report show a picture of the rest of the world moving fast towards FinTech, with 85% of customers in China using at least one FinTech firm. India and the UAE follow that figure at 77% and 70% respectively.

The same figure in the UK is at 49% but this sits well with the trend “first the rest and then the west,” as this figure is sure to rise in the coming years, with the figures also pointing to the fact that the upcoming generation (Gen Y) places more trust in FinTech firms than traditional ones.

To build off that finding, the report also highlights the increasing importance of mobile devices. They emerged as the second-most important channel, just after the computer, for interacting with financial services firms. It’s predicted, that within only ten years, an estimated two billion people will have had their first banking experience on a smart phone.

To give this some local Channel Islands context, the States of Jersey Statistics Unit released its Jersey Opinions and Lifestyle Report 2016 recently, which highlighted a 10% increase in smartphone use among Jersey adults since 2013 to 69%.

These figures are worth keeping in mind when considering in terms of how finance organisations need to interact with their customers – the trends all point towards the seemingly inevitable future of automation. And as experts in digital communications, public relations should very much be part of that future (see David Phillips’ clever blog post for more “Why are we certain that much PR will be automated?”).

The clear trend is towards greater online engagement for finance firms with their customers, and arriving at a point where communication and engagement is effective may well prove to be a challenging journey. According to the survey of executives in the Capgemini report, 64% felt that executive leadership support and buy-in is the most important factor in applying innovation; the second most important factor at 51% is the realisation that there needs to be a shift in the cultural mindset of the organisation to be agile and innovative.

It follows that internal communications strategies need to be a priority as well. Internal communications professionals are perfectly placed to ensure this type of information is known to the relevant parties, to get internal buy-in to embrace new technologies and work practices, and spearhead the move towards digital and innovative thinking.

The FinTech story is a useful one for finance PRs to stay on top of, we have the opportunity to be a big part in this story.

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