The once dry niche of financial services technology is emerging as a hot topic among New Zealand technology developers.
Last year’s TIN 100 report on the local ICT sector highlighted fintech as the fastest-growing technology niche, notching up increased sales of 31 per cent year-on-year – twice the rate of the overall industry.
Last October, the government responded with its Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator, funded by Callaghan Innovation and run through Creative HQ in Wellington.
Now the sector has its own industry body, FinTechNZ, which hosted a visit from a UK trade delegation in Auckland last week.
FinTechNZ leader Mitchell Pham says the visit has paved the way for increases in financial innovation and technology development business between the two countries.
The delegation met government agencies including MBIE, regulator the Financial Markets Authority and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.
It also delivered demonstrations at innovation space GridAKL and met with more than 100 local fintech entrepreneurs.
“Many direct business connections have been made,” Pham said. “We have now established the beginning of an important relationship and they are already talking about future visits with more UK companies coming to New Zealand.”
One of the reasons the segment is so hot right now is that the sector is poised for transformation and disruption. To innovators, that spells opportunity.
The term ‘fintech’ used to apply mainly to back office processing and old school payments systems, but that has totally changed. The focus now is squarely on the next wave of consumer-focused technologies, mobile, peer-to-peer, social, and the hugely disruptive potential of Blockchain.
Last April, the website Business Insider even published a list of the 40 coolest people in UK fintech.
Pham said New Zealand is an ideal market for innovating and testing new fintech developments before rolling out to other larger markets around the world.
The UK, meanwhile, is an international hub that could give local businesses more access to the global market, investment capital and expertise.
“FinTechNZ are working to establish more of these direct relationships with other strong fintech nations and hubs, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York,” Pham said.
“This will enable Kiwis to innovate for the global market and to export our innovations.”