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GROWTH THROUGH COLLABORATION

Akber Jaffer, Chief Commercial Officer, Marketplaces and TEMS, Finastra

 

Open Banking has been slowly incentivizing change in financial services from digital transformation to greater collaboration and data sharing.

Recent research conducted by Finastra (prior to the pandemic), based on the opinions of over 750 banks worldwide, found that 86% of global banks surveyed plan to use open APIs to enable Open Banking in the next 12 months.

This is an encouraging trend but, as we learn to live with COVID-19, the march to digital transformation has accelerated significantly. Banks and financial institutions are navigating how to squeeze what would have been years of innovation into months. It’s no mean feat but Open Banking is one area which is helping banks better serve customers with digital services.

Open Banking is exploding the offerings from banks and single-service fintech providers alike and the pieces are falling back to earth and taking on new forms as they do so. What has been unbundled is now being re-bundled in brand new ways. Digital platforms are providing a framework in which these new bundles – or ecosystems – can organize themselves.

 

The move to platform

A platform-based approach enables the industry to evolve beyond traditional business models and to build more expansive and flexible ecosystems that better serve customer needs. It gives banks and financial institutions an opportunity to provide not just the products and solutions they develop themselves, but those of complementary third parties.

In this business environment, we need dynamic and nuanced business models. The move to platform allows a change to take place in the way fintechs and incumbent financial institutions relate to each other – blending fintech creativity with traditional banking experience and scale.

Platformification can be broadly delivered through three models. These are:

  • One-to-many – This is where large banks such as Santander have made their proprietary platforms available, exposed their APIs and invited application creators to create services for end-users.
  • Many-to-many – Vendors like Finastra offer open technology and customers across retail, capital markets and corporate banking, and act as an intermediary between financial service providers and application creators.
  • Startup – Providers such as the UK’s Starling Bank open up platforms to allow fintechs and application creators to provide functionality for their customers.

 

To succeed, these platform models need open architectures, providing flexibility and resilience to expedite the adoption of new technologies at reduced operating costs.

In this scenario, banks must define what they want to achieve and lead an incentivised project from the top. A platform-based business without a clearly articulated goal is unlikely to succeed.

 

Freedom to innovate

To succeed with a platform model, banks and other industry players need the freedom to invest in R&D within a favourable regulatory environment. But can this final critical element be realized?

Our research also found that regulation is perceived to be tighter than a year ago, with industry and government support required to foster innovation.

Almost half of those audited believe that regulations are holding back innovation: 48% stated that ‘regulation is too tight’, 10% more than in 2019. We also found that the cost of fintech development or R&D is of particular concern in the USA, UAE and APAC regions.

Like the restrictive conversation describing the traditional relationship between banks and fintechs, the concept of innovation being siloed off into the realm of regulatory sandboxes is perhaps becoming out-dated.

83% of financial institutions and banks agree that regulations regarding fintech innovation should be harmonized between different geographies. It’s now time to create joined up regulation and invest confidently in R&D to power financial services through these turbulent times.

Open Banking and open APIs, critical for the platform model, will enable fintechs, big techs and banks to collaborate and innovate. We must, at this time, broaden the conversation as financial services becomes ever more democratized, and we must encourage creativity and co-innovation wherever possible.

 

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Business

TOP 5 LINKEDIN PROFILE OPTIMIZATION HACKS FOR ASPIRING BANKERS

According to Firmex, finance professionals cannot afford to be not on LinkedIn. A significant number of organizations acquire talent in the financial industry through LinkedIn.

Especially for aspiring professionals, your internet presence matters a lot as recruiters are most likely to search your name on the internet before making a decision about your application.

As an aspiring banker on a professional platform, you should consider changing the outlook of your profile, to garner the recruiter’s attention. Your profile is unlikely to get noticed if it is out-of-date and inaccurate.

Here’s how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile:

 

Headline

Here’s an example of a good headline for a banker:

“Aspiring Banker majored in finance specializing in forecasting and risk management best practices”.

Scrolling through most professional profiles for bankers on LinkedIn, these individuals pay little attention to the headline.

A well-optimized headline gives the recruiters reasons to click on a profile. Though you just have 120 characters to make it great and charm the recruiter.

You can include pointers on what you are trying to achieve as a banker, or include your major as a way of connecting the skills-gap. If you are an MBA degree holder, then you can reflect this on your headline along with the major.

Though here are a few things you should know about creating a headline:

  • Be professional and avoid writing words like “superstar worker”, “top performer”, etc.
  • Be discreet with your job search, don’t directly mention “looking for a job”, “unemployed”, etc.
  • Research on other professional’s headlines with a network presence.
  • Include the usage of strong adjectives/action verbs.

 

Connections

On LinkedIn, develop meaningful connections with professionals and recruiters. With little effort, you can significantly increase your number of connections.

However, having 5000+ connections is not valuable if they are irrelevant to your interests. Hence, keep your connections limited to professionals in the finance industry.

  • Connect with individuals that are relevant in the finance industry and send a personalized message along with the connection request.
  • You are most likely to get ignored if you mindlessly send out requests. Though LinkedIn advocates being active, you should derive an invitation strategy for effective network expansion.
  • Message recruiters that are hiring professionals in the finance industry and ask them for advice on how you can further optimize your profile.

 

Professional Experience

Your LinkedIn profile works as a digital resume. It should give an idea of a constructive career progression. Hence, LinkedIn profile optimization becomes quite important.

  • Write points in a bullet form, don’t include long paragraphs.
  • Mentioning your roles and responsibilities isn’t ideal. Construct the points in a way that showcase all your accomplishments & contributions.
  • Add your projects separately; do not add them in the career highlights section.

 

Keywords

As with any other search engine, recruiters are dependent on the algorithm to show them the best profile as per their searches. Based on a certain set of relevant keywords in your industry, recruiters will try to search for candidates on LinkedIn.

Here’s how you can use keywords to optimize your profile:

  • Research: Thoroughly research the keywords that are of prime importance in the finance industry. Check the profiles of other professionals on LinkedIn and refer job postings to gain an understanding of how to sprinkle these keywords in your profile.
  • Section: Utilize each section efficiently of your LinkedIn profile to showcase your contributions and achievements. Don’t just stuff your profile with contextual keywords. In the end, your profile should foremost be easily readable.
  • Industry and Skills: Update the industry in your profile and include all the skills you are familiar with. Further, you can even include skills that you are not familiar with. Let’s say you need to include “Budget Forecasting” in your profile and you have not had any real-life experience with it. You may write it as “Interested in gaining experience in budget forecasting”.

 

Skills & Recommendations

Recruiters look for professionals who can deliver, hence your profile should include the skills that are highly relevant to your targeted profile. Though in the banking industry recruiters search for general skills as well. So, make sure your profile is a match for both.

Further, just listing your expertise is not going to be enough. Get your mentors, employers, etc. to write you a stellar recommendation. If you provide credibility for your skills then it can do wonders for you.

 

Final Word

  • Just as the headline of your profile, your picture is equally important. Make sure you use a professional-looking photograph.
  • Continue to engage with your connections through comments and professional messaging.

As you are a banking professional, your profile is probably going to end up looking like all about your core competencies, However, it is important to include a few pointers about your hobbies that describe your personality as well.

 

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Business

HOW MILLENNIALS CAN GET AHEAD WITH THEIR MONEY

Granville Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little. 

 

Millennials are often painted as globe-trotting creatures that spend more money on avocadoes than their future. But that can’t be further from the truth. Millennials tend to be good savers, at least compared to other generations. Industry data shows that more than 70% of millennials have started putting money away for retirement and beyond.

“Millennials still struggle with investing. Often because they feel they don’t know enough about the market, but it’s never too late to invest in your understanding. It’s a great way to make your finances work harder for you,” says Granville Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little.

Here are some things you can start doing now, or preparing for, to set yourself up for a future of learning and investing:

 

Start early

The most apparent advantage millennials have over older generations is the luxury of time. Whilst everyone can weigh up the risks and rewards of investing, you’re particularly well-placed to see a solid return on your investments.

 

Challenge risk

When you invest money for longer, you can become less phased by the ups and downs and be able to view inevitable declines as opportunity instead. It’s better to look at yearly or even longer figures for a more accurate reflection of performance.

 

Put your money to work 

Money that sits in a savings account, uninvested, is almost certain to lose value over time due to inflation, or a creeping higher cost of goods and services. If your money is growing or earning you a return, it’s going to help you reach your financial goals faster.

 

Start small

Many millennials believe you need to have a serious amount of money to start investing. But in reality, even small contributions can build over time. The important thing is to start early, and make it a habit.

If you’re ready to start having the right conversations about the future of your finances, get in touch with us today. With years of knowledge and expertise, we’ll be able to assist with any enquiries, no matter how complex.

 

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