We asked 9 industry experts to contribute their thoughts on the year ahead, and a common theme was the need for these technologies to mature, with the genuinely useful implementations finally getting to market. Expanding on last year, we have chosen seven areas of interest to focus on in 2019. Each represents a vital area of innovation in the financial industry, and has a particular relevance to Luxembourg's thriving financial technology ecosystem. Each week we will be choosing one of the topics to focus on, both in the content we share on social media, but also in a dedicated newsletter looking at the top five stories from that week. First, let's introduce the topics with some of our favourite summaries for the uninitiated: "Regtech growth will explode in 2019 because regulators worldwide will start truly driving it. Multiple countries will hold a joint hackathon at midyear, aiming to use technology to remove one of the biggest regtech blockers: how to share data widely to find risk patterns and fight financial crime, while fully protecting privacy and cybersecurity. Solutions will solve myriad regulatory problems. Even more importantly, the shared experience will move regulatory bodies into a new era of active innovation and collaboration with each other, industry, and academia. Anti-money laundering will continue to be a leading use case, because the current system is so broken and costly and there's so much low-hanging fruit to harvest through technology. We'll also see AI and blockchain solving more problems, from digital identity and financial fairness and inclusion to API-based regulatory reporting, machine-readable regulations, and even machine-executable compliance. These regulatory breakthroughs are not just nice-to-have. They are essential, if fintech innovation is to flourish. The regulations are the rules of the road we're all traveling."
Being a media specialised in fintech reporting provides us with an unparalleled view of the emerging trends and players in he space. After tracking the performance and announcements from hundreds of Hong Kong based fintech companies, here are (in our view) the top 19 fintech companies operating in Hong Kong in 2019. Futu Securities is a recognized fintech unicorn and one of Asia's top-ranked online brokers, providing a one-stop online investing services and experience. Futu Securities' investing platform, Futu Niuniu, provides market data, trading service and news feed, covering Hong Kong, Mainland China and US stock markets. The platform has over 5 million users.
Consolidation is taking place in the East African insurance market due to rising capital requirements and mergers with international firms that want to gain a foothold in the region. Ashok Shah, Group CEO of APA Apollo, examines the opportunities this brings. "In addition to operating in such a dynamic business environment, insurers in East Africa have access to a growing young population with significant purchasing power. This is especially the case in Kenya, which EY ranked as one of the continent's most mature insurance markets with strong growth potential." Urbanisation and developing economies will likely spur increases in annual insurance premium incomes in the region.
This article was first published on the Impact Money Blog. The Impact Money Blog sat down with Puneet Gupta to find out why he left Dvara Trust (formerly known as IFMR Trust), a group he co-founded in 2007, to start Kaleidofin, an ambitious fintech company that wants to make savings and investment convenient for millions of customers at the base of the economic pyramid. Puneet Gupta, a veteran social entrepreneur in the field of microfinance, knows the poor would be better off saving rather than borrowing to achieve their financial goals. Although microfinance has been credited with improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the developing world, the industry has grappled with the ethics of indebting the most economically vulnerable. This is particularly true in India, which experienced a regulatory backlash over this issue in 2010 that threw the industry into turmoil.
Can fintech solve the American healthcare crisis? It is clear that in the current climate, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and living paycheck to paycheck means that Americans would be forced to turn to loans with expensive charges and high interest rates to get the care they need. Financial problems can be solved if investment is driven into fintech startups and in turn, help those who need it the most. Fintech should aim to provide effective services to the 138 million Americans who are not in a healthy financial situation. LendingClub, the fintech that offers peer to peer lending and alternative investing, has made it their mission to transform the banking industry and to make credit more affordable.