" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> EXCLUSIVE: "Imagining the Future of Finance" - Ronit Ghose, Citi Global Insights and Leda Glyptis in 'The Fintech Magazine'
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: “Imagining the Future of Finance” – Ronit Ghose, Citi Global Insights and Leda Glyptis in ‘The Fintech Magazine’

Leda Glyptis asked Ronit Ghose, Head of Fintech & Digital Assets at Citi Global Insights, what the first wave of innovation in FS might teach us about the next

LEDA GLYPTIS: Some of what was ‘the future’ 15 years ago is very much real. And some of it is nowhere near real. What does that tell us about the way we think about feasibility and the future?

RONIT GHOSE: Products of the future are often built on the lessons of the past – innovation often means evolution, not revolution. Many of today’s technological solutions are building on the infrastructure that already forms part of the financial sector. Take, for instance, payments. Improvements started in wholesale payments with real-time gross settlements, which later expanded to retail payments; but, even today, we find players reimagining this space for greater convenience and real-time availability.

Jack Ma, founder and former CEO of Alibaba Group, highlighted some of the key ingredients for driving innovation. He said: “The most important thing is to make the technology inclusive – make the world change. Next, pay attention to those people who are 30 years old, because those are the internet generation. They will change the world.”

We would add, don’t just look at 30-year-olds. Pay attention to your 10-year-old children and their friends. What they are doing online for fun will be our work in a decade or so.

LG: So, how do financial organisations face into that future?

RG: We live in a digital age and the way we communicate, shop, entertain ourselves, order groceries and manage our health, has changed dramatically over the last two decades. Over the next decade, this digital era will further accelerate as we move into an increasingly immersive, 3D internet era.Cloud and more modern architecture offer solutions to legacy IT issues. In the past, applications ran on software downloaded to computers/servers; now these very applications can be accessed through the internet. As back-end infrastructure moves to the Cloud, applications are being re-engineered to next fully utilise Cloud-native features.

Monolithic applications are giving way to modular applications built from scalable micro-services, through standardised APIs. This offers an agile environment to experiment with ideas. Cloud applications help increase efficiency, cut high hardware costs and eliminate some maintenance costs. They also offer greater flexibility to accommodate business fluctuations as financial institutions can scale up their Cloud capacity by drawing on remote servers, when needed, and, conversely, scale down during low demand.

The evolution of a universal digital platform could offer the next generation of persistent and immersive experiences, combining the physical and digital world into the metaverse. The progression of the metaverse and finance could see the creation of new digital solutions in banking and finance. It isn’t ludicrous to dream about a virtual walk into a digital bank branch and interacting with bank staff or investing in products. In our report, Citi GPS: Metaverse & Money – Decrypting the Future, we talk about this and other use cases.I believe the future of finance is connected intelligence, but simply interconnecting several IoT (Internet of Things) devices together isn’t enough. The objective is to integrate solutions into the overall strategy of the financial institution by digitising existing products and processes to feed data into the platform, which in turn drives innovation into new products and services.

LG: How do we think about talent and value in this shifting context?

RG: Talent is an important element of any company. Everyone is chasing the best and brightest minds globally and it’s critical for all companies to understand what they can offer that differentiates them from the others. However, it doesn’t end at attracting the best talent. Financial institutions also need to retain and grow that talent by creating a culture that fosters new ideas and encourages experimentation, and a culture that accepts (as opposed to penalises) that failure is part and parcel of experimentation – and that it is OK to fail fast. Most notable innovations often stem from participative approaches.

We believe diversity creates friction, which in turn accelerates innovation. It is important to understand that diversity is not just restricted to gender, but includes experience, cultural background, education, age, socioeconomic status, etc. Financial institutions often need to balance different priorities to develop an adaptive, diverse, digitally-savvy and customer-focussed workforce.


 

This article was published in The Fintech Magazine Issue 25, Page 63

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