group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

Is diversity the key to unlocking the potential of fintech and web3?

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

Work in Fintech is diverse by design, led by a male British born half-Chinese half-Irish fintech entrepreneur, a female former head of digital products at a leading investment bank who is a US national but born in China and a 12-year-old British Asian boy who is a NFT and crypto millionaire.

What do these three people have in common? They all share a love for fintech, a passion for education and they are all on a mission to give back. This tribe of like-minded people is actively helping the next generation build companies and careers in fintech and web3.

Initially, Work in Fintech was set up as a mentoring project in late 2019 by fintech entrepreneur and ipushpull CEO, Matthew Cheung, to help students from his old high school navigate the challenges of entering the workforce. However, things changed rapidly with the global pandemic which caused huge disruption within the school system. One thing in particular was conspicuous by its absence – work experience. Unfortunately, for 15- and 16-year-old students, work experience had completely disappeared as nearly every single company was grappling with their own challenges in 2020-2021.

For Matthew, the work experience he had when he was 15 directly led him to his first job in the City – which was a life changing event for him. As businesses were not offering this, he decided to take matters into his own hands and created a 6-week work experience programme for a group of teenagers from different races and backgrounds. This was a runaway success. The students gained real life experience with firms such as Revolut, TP ICAP and Goldman Sachs and even met the Lord Mayor of London while learning about fintech, financial markets and growing their own network.

Through a podcast series that first aired in February 2021 called ‘Interviews with Leaders in Fintech’, Matthew met Ying Cao and Benyamin Ahmed.

At the time, Ying had just left her role as Head of Digital Products at Barclays investment bank to set up an executive coaching platform called Liyt. Matthew and Ying quickly bonded over a shared passion for mentoring and giving back to future generations. Soon after, they met 12-year-old Benyamin Ahmed, who had gained notoriety by becoming the youngest person in the world to make a million dollars in crypto by creating NFT digital art collections. Although he has enough wealth to secure a comfortable future, Benyamin is keen to share his knowledge with other young people so that they can emulate his success.

With this impactful group of people, Work in Fintech is in full swing, providing mentoring, career advice,  and work experience to students, as well as helping graduates and young people find jobs in fintech and web3.

Diversity in every dimension is important to this founding team, who have strived to ensure a balance of race, gender, age, origin and socio-economic status in order to break through the poor track record finance generally has around the world. Both Matthew and Ying have spent their careers in finance, Matthew in the City and Ying in Wall Street. The lack of diversity in these global financial centres is stark. However, the great thing with fintech and web3 is that age, gender, ethnicity and any other differences are not barriers. It’s one of the most meritocratic industries where skills, ideas, passion and experience trumps everything else.

A fresher outlook, mindset and perspective of many fintech founders who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s means diversity and inclusion is crucially important. However, fintech and web3 firms that are rapidly growing are recruiting talent globally and – unfortunately – the majority of recruits is still white and male. This fact is not lost on fintech founders who want a diverse pool of candidates. This is something that Work in Fintech is solving for.

It’s actually a two-way street, fintech’s can’t find talent, especially those coming from DEI backgrounds, and young people are not aware of the great opportunities in the fintech and web3 space. Traditional finance has been recruiting graduates for decades and many students just aren’t aware of the job roles or the companies in fintech and web3 looking for talent, so they naturally gravitate towards banks and traditional finance.

To help increase the visibility of fintech, Work in Fintech works with corporates such as Adaptive Financial Consulting and Blockchain.com who are not only leaders in their field but have identified the shortage of talent from DEI pools as something they want to rebalance with investment and commitment. For students, Work in Fintech creates learning, networking and working experience to give them their first taste of fintech and web3. Ultimately, Work in Fintech will help students find internships and jobs at the innovative fintech firms that are part of the Work in Fintech community.

Uniquely, Work in Fintech is funding these programmes through NFTs. Benyamin has worked with a Black Brazilian artist, Massai, to create a NFT collection that will be sold to fintech’s and corporates. Each NFT holder unlocks access to a vibrant growing community of young people. The proceeds of the NFT collection will be used – and tracked on-chain – to help fund learning and work experiences for students from all backgrounds with a specific focus on helping students from DEI backgrounds.

Diversity is important in all industries as it helps provide opportunities for all. It improves decision making and it’s the right thing to do both socially and morally. It won’t be solved overnight but Work in Fintech is creating the on-ramps today that will unlock the massive opportunity in fintech and web3.


bias corporates, International Women's Day, #breakthebias

How the fintech industry can #BreakTheBias

bias corporates, International Women's Day, #breakthebias

Article provided by Annette Evans, VP of People & Culture – Global Processing Services

Fintech is inexorably linked with innovation, open-mindedness and collaboration.

These ingredients are the lifeblood of our industry, so you would be forgiven for thinking fintechs are pioneers of diversity. Sadly, whilst much progress has been made, this is far from the case.

GPS recently sponsored the Diversity for Growth Report in partnership with Findexable which uncovered a surprising picture of an industry suffering a woeful lack of diversity, particularly when it comes to female representation.

There were two statistics which leapt out at me when I read the findings. Firstly, there is a consensus that a lack of gender balance means men’s ideas dominate every stage of the fintech value chain. Secondly, rapidly scaling companies are struggling to balance diversity commitments with the challenges of building teams in new regions at scale and speed.

This is at odds with fintech firms who seem to agree that a commitment to being fully inclusive makes good business sense. And they are absolutely right. It is well-documented that well-managed, diverse groups outperform homogenous ones, and that diversity leads to a higher collective intelligence, better decision-making, and accelerated innovation.

Beyond that, it makes clear commercial sense. It is statistically proven that having more women in technical positions leads to more customers because they develop products specifically with women in mind.

Breaking the Bias

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias and in my opinion, to truly break the bias we need fintech leaders to be more open-minded about where the talent they hire comes from. If we continue to recruit from the same talent pool, we cannot be surprised to see the same talent at mid and senior levels and wonder where all the women are.

Change is happening, but real change takes time. We are starting to see a new generation of diverse talent enter the talent pool and work their way up the ladder. This will, of course, eventually diversify talent at a more senior level, but it may take a decade or more to see a real difference in the demographics of fintech boardrooms.

In the meantime, I encourage businesses to see this International Women’s Day as an opportunity to review their business culture. If you have a low number of women at your company in senior and technical roles, it may be time to ask questions around why so few women choose to work there. In doing so, you may potentially identify an environment where women are not given enough opportunities to shine, or a culture which unconsciously favours those who already fit the mould.

Those who fail to ask these difficult questions risk losing out. After all, women understand how women think and what they need, so you need women in your team if you want to try and build and sell a product to women.

Knowing bias exists is not enough to make a change, and significant change will not happen overnight. But by being accountable for our own bias, examining business practices through the #BreakTheBias lens, and taking incremental steps towards real representation, the fintech industry can be a leader of diversity as successfully as it leads in innovation.

This International Women’s Day, I urge all fintechs to take an objective look at their teams and ask themselves this question…Are we part of the problem?

Meet our 100 incredible leaders breaking the bias & calling for societal change this International Women’s Day

As part of our #WeAreBreakingTheBias campaign, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

VIEW OUR 100 INSPIRING LEADERS

Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

How to get more women in FinTech

Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Article by Nabilah Hussain, Head of FinCrime

FinTech has a gender problem.

The findings of Innovate Finance’s report, that women still account for less than 30% of the UK’s FinTech workforce, are sadly all too believable. Unlike in other sectors, such as engineering, where gender equality figures are slowly, but surely, moving in the right direction, in finance and technology they have stayed stubbornly low.

Having worked both in traditional retail banking and at FinTechs – my current role is Head of FinCrime at 3S Money – I know the industry is driven by the desire to enact real change and grasp the opportunities new technologies present. But to achieve this vision we need diversity of thought. In 2019, the financial services sector contributed £132 billion to the UK economy, 6.9% of total economic output. Imagine how much the industry could grow if we canvassed insight, experience and expertise from every part of society.

We need more people from different backgrounds, races and genders at all levels to create a financial ecosystem that is fair and works for everyone. The question is how do we make this happen?

Overhaul recruitment

First impressions are everything. And this goes for both candidates and companies. From job descriptions to the interview process itself and Glassdoor reviews, there are a number of factors that have been shown to actively put women off applying for roles.

In job descriptions, neutral language is so important. “Creative” titles like ‘guru’ or ‘ninja’ have been shown to inadvertently put women off from clicking on job adverts. And in many cases bely unconscious bias in the overall recruitment process. Condensing the list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ is another way of ensuring as an industry we avoid the social conditioning pitfall that sees women only apply for roles if they meet 100% of the criteria; compared to men who apply when they meet 60%.

While FinTech is genuinely one of the most exciting industries to work in, companies still need to sell themselves to candidates – it goes both ways. With CRO Magazine reporting 86% of US women wouldn’t join a company with a bad reputation, having positive posts on the likes of Glassdoor isn’t a nice to have, it’s a necessity.

Put culture-add over culture-fit

At 3S Money, we genuinely walk the walk on being an inclusive workplace focused on innovation. Nearly two thirds (61%) of our team is female and I’m one of five female heads of department. Culture-add always comes above culture-fit because we recognise the value in having different experiences and opinions around the table. It makes for more interesting discussions! This attitude is baked into our DNA and helps ensure we don’t drive away strong female and neurodiverse candidates.

Aiming for culture-fit tends to attract and hire more of the same, which won’t help anything change for the better. As an industry, we need to focus on bringing in people who can add value we don’t already see in the sector. This has to be the case for every department in FinTech companies – from product to operations, and sales and marketing.

Lead by example

It’s easy to say you want to improve gender equality in the workforce. But it starts at the top. If people don’t see themselves reflected in those leading the FinTech sector or see CEOs taking tangible action to make gender equality a reality, nothing will change. It’s the responsibility of leaders to educate, and explain the importance of diverse teams and how everyone benefits from learning from each other.

Challenge yourself to monitor the number of female hires in the company each quarter and watch the changes within those teams over time. By holding companies and the industry as a whole to account, we will watch positive change follow.

Nabilah HussainAbout the author

Nabilah Hussain, Head of FinCrime at 3S Money, is an experienced Financial Crime, Risk and Compliance Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the banking industry.

Nabilah has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Mathematics, Finance and Accounting from Queen Mary University and International AML Diploma from the ICA. Prior to 3S Money, Nabilah spent over 5 years at Metro Bank as its Risk & Compliance Manager, and BFC as Financial Crime Officer.


Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Championing women in fintech 

Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Article by Rosie McConnell, Head of Product at IFX Payments 

Whilst FinTech as an industry is often viewed as a beacon of progression, the reality is that even at a time where gender equality and the advancement of female talent is top of most business agendas, the stats show a different image.

Reports revealed that less than 30% of the employee base is made up of women, with less than 20% of them occupying executive positions, and fewer than 5% are CEO’s.

So whilst FinTech businesses are undoubtedly transforming the financial services sector, and the future of many consumer experiences such as online banking and payments, it is clear that as a sector there is a lot of work to do on the gender equality front.

Looking back over my ten year career in the Fintech sector, at every step, female role models have played a key part in my development. In my first role I worked under both a female manager and COO who were pivotal in helping me navigate the workplace, my career and the industry, whilst teaching me to maintain authenticity and find ways to put my own mark on the work we were doing.

This level of support and female-led mentorship set me up for success by giving me a strong foundation and resilience to continue pushing boundaries and to recognise the unique value that I could bring to my role. I strongly believe that positive advocacy, female C-suite representation and effective mentorship, can move the needle and help FinTechs retain, champion and cultivate female talent.

But before we can really start making a change, we’ve got to try to pinpoint why even amidst the massive focus on advancing gender diversity, the problem still exists. We’ve seen that the number of women in Fintech has remained low whilst the industry has only continued to grow.

Something that has come up repeatedly is that for many women, a career in Fintech means making difficult prioritisation decisions in other areas of life. Something that I took from my female mentors was that for them, whilst pursuing their professional successes, a consideration always had to be made as to how to juggle work and home duties and overcome personal barricades that perhaps their male counterparts had not experienced.

In particular, the discourse surrounding working women having children often remains largely negative and, as such, a moment in my career that I found particularly profound was when a speaker at a conference openly encouraged those of us in the crowd to have children. It was inspirational to hear the positives rather than the hindrance motherhood presents, highlighting how it can make you a better decision maker, more focussed and generally able to prioritise more as your time becomes more valuable. But speaking positively about women balancing a family and a career should be the norm, not an exception.

As employers we should endeavour to make this balance easy, especially within financial services careers which have historically made it difficult. We need to see changes to policies which allow greater flexibility and acceptance of blended working so that female employees not only feel included, but championed, something which hopefully the pandemic has kickstarted.

That being said, encouraging women to pursue careers in Fintech should not be about preferential treatment or a driving force for male-critical discourse to take place. Rather a cultural and a mindset change that is flexible, creative and inclusive.

I will forever be grateful for the guidance and support I received early in my career and now in my role as head of product at IFX. And whilst there is no quick-fix to boosting the number of women in FinTech, it is important to remember that cognitive diversity not only in gender, but personality types, backgrounds, ages, race, ultimately encourages better teams and as a result better products.

Rosie McConnellAbout the author

In her role as the Head of Product at IFX, Rosie McConnell is responsible for establishing the deliverables and objectives for IFX’s product offering. With over 10 years of experience in the Fintech sector, Rosie plays a key role in defining and prioritizing product roadmaps for IFX as well as taking ownership for product development and the technological innovation of IFX.

Rosie is a passionate champion of value-led change in an industry that is predominantly dominated by men, through helping to advance the Women in Fintech agenda as well as working towards  maintaining a cognitively biased team which relies on people from all backgrounds and experiences working together.


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It is time to put our heart back into our ecosystem — and build what matters

women-in-finance-

Having access to employment, being able to buy and sell goods and services, creating and leveraging savings over time – along with the ability to move money, store money, access credit, and invest – these are all modern day financial activities that many of us come to expect – and take for granted.

However, access to banking services remain uneven, with nearly 1.7 billion people who are unbanked, and many more who are underbanked. And the challenge is not limited to developing countries alone.

  • Over 5 percent of U.S. households (approximately 12 million adults) are unbanked: a further 11 percent of U.S. households (approximately 24 million adults) are underbanked, and still relying on some fringe financial services, such as check cashing facilities;
  • Approximately 2.3% of the UK adult population (1.2 million adults) are unbanked, according to the FCA.

Having a bank account is only the beginning of a long journey fraught with additional challenges, from the ability to continue higher education, or receive and transfer funds locally and abroad, to starting a new business, buying a home, or saving for the future.

Access to financial services is a crucial tool to help our most marginalized citizens escape poverty and move up the economic ladder, and for women in particular. Through loans and grants for women entrepreneurs, along with vocational training, more women can participate in the innovation economy, gain financial security, and boost the economy. According to the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap Report, it is estimated that it will take another 267.6 years to close the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity for women.

That is a gap that is not only unacceptable — it is a human-made problem that is avoidable.

Economic equality is a right, not a privilege

From the US, UK, Africa, China, India, Southeast Asia and beyond, new global FinTech business models have emerged over the past two decades, upended the world of financial services, changed consumer expectations of what can be done, and challenged incumbents to move beyond the status quo.

The innovative use of basic telecom services by m-Pesa to facilitate movement of money between consumers and businesses, for example, has been credited for lifting 2 percent of Kenyan households out of poverty. Elsewhere, the India Stack, which includes the Aadhaar identity platform as one of the key pillars, is considered to be the most important innovation to formalize India’s domestic economy through digital services.

From Ant Group, Paytm, Grab, and GoJek, to Robinhood, SoFi, TransferWise, and Nubank, thousands of fintech startups around the world have made great strides in building new digital products and experiences from lending, payments, investing, and beyond.

Opportunities with changing demographics

As our world continues to experience demographic changes, it is now more urgent than ever to challenge the status quo and serve more of our diverse society. The recent uptick in speciality fintechs is a great example. Far from serving purely a market segment, community-focused fintech startups, such as Daylight, are showing us how technology can help connect us through commonalities, with financial services as a vehicle.

Banking is an essential and crucial service, not only for individuals but also for a country’s economic development. As an industry and as a society, we need a renewed focus on the basic needs of those who are not served by our current system.

It is time to re-imagine financial services beyond products and buzzwords, or yet another budgeting app with a shiny new user interface. We have the know-how and the technology to create something truly meaningful — to impact the wellbeing of not only one, but multiple generations.

And as we have learned from our collective experiences in the past year, women are the backbone of our economies. As we slowly emerge from the health and economic crisis, we must put women and marginalized communities in the center of economic recovery. And we have the responsibility to do so in a useful, trustworthy, affordable, and sustainable manner.

Together, we can re-imagine a different future, one where people of all ages, genders, sexual orientation, ethnicities, and backgrounds can thrive; one where their collective wisdom and lived experiences are vital to our society at large.

Together, we thrive.

It is time to put our heart back into our ecosystem — and build what matters.

We have seen tremendous innovation and wealth creation in the past two decades, much of which is not equally distributed. Economic inequality is a human-made problem that can be solved. A purposeful application of technology can become the catalyst for greater social responsibility beyond shareholder value. Let’s turn the Beyond Good moment into a Beyond Good movement —and create a more equitable future for all.

About the author

Theodora (Theo) Lau is the founder of Unconventional Ventures, a public speaker, and an advisor. She is the co-author of Beyond Good, and co-host of One Vision, a podcast on fintech and innovation. She is also a regular contributor for top industry events and publications, including Harvard Business Review and Nikkei Asian Review.

 


WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here

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Fintech featured

The lessons I learnt starting my career in FinTech | Delia Pedersoli

Article by Delia Pedersoli, Chief Operating Officer at MultiPay Global Solutions

FintechThe fintech industry is one of the most exciting and fulfilling sectors to work in. Each day you get to meet and work with so many great and inspiring people, while at the same time developing products and solutions that have a real-world, positive impact on people’s lives.

You can see this in so many of the businesses that have emerged over the last few years. For instance, we have seen new and exciting enterprises launch that have changed the game when it comes to small business (SMEs) funding. Now, instead of going through a bank to gain access to funding, SMEs can turn to innovative companies such as Iwoca and Funding Circle for quicker and easier access to financing. In the consumer space, we have seen similar developments too with challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo delivering exceptional customer and in app experiences too. This has now forced every other bank to up its game accordingly with the ultimate winners being customers.

However, fintech businesses like these are not built overnight and without overcoming challenges. Having worked in the fintech industry for the past 20 years I would advise anyone starting out to think about the following three areas:

  • Be confident: It is hard starting in anything, let alone an industry like fintech. Nevertheless, you need to have a strong belief in yourself and what you are doing if you are to stick it out. You will be met by challenges regularly that need to be overcome, and you have to be ready for them. For example, when I started in fintech I was surprised – and still am – about how much complexity there is. What should be simple and straightforward never is. Thanks to legacy technologies, regulations, and legislation, you need to be prepared to push on and not get disheartened when there are bumps in the road. Having confidence in yourself and what you are aiming to do is the fuel that powers you through and solves these obstacles.
  • Get ahead of customers: Everyone talks about putting customers first but few deliver. To provide a great customer experience you must be proactive and get ahead of the customer. Knowing what they want or need before they do themselves allows you to deliver projects that exceed expectations. To do this you have to get to know customers and their businesses on a deeper and more personal level. This is something we instilled in our team at MultiPay as we want to ensure we always deliver a first-class customer experience.
  • Enjoy it: Enjoyment is often overlooked but is the key to success. Fintech is my passion and I enjoy every day that I work in it. In fact, if I could turn the clock back, I would start working in fintech even sooner, it has been such a great journey.

Delia PedersoliAbout the author

Delia is an enthusiastic and outstanding entrepreneur, who has been involved in a number of successful Fintech start-ups in the Card Payments industry.

Delia started her career in the IT sector having completed her MBA at Henley Management College and worked for blue– chip companies including IBM, Xerox and Canon.

In 2006, Delia joined Barclaycard where she successfully implemented the acquiring division in her native country of Italy.

She was Co-Founder of EPS, the first company in the world to be P2PE certified and in 2013 she founded International Payments Services where she built a Fintech payments technology infrastructure, partnering with some major brands.  International Payment Services was acquired in 2017 by an international payments processor and card issuer.


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Digital banking is opening doors for tech women

Digital Banking

By Monica Rancati, Chief Human Resources Officer, Temenos

Most of us do our day-to-day banking via an app on our phone, without ever having to visit a branch or phone a call centre.

It is amazingly convenient, and it is just the start of a digital revolution in banking. A revolution driven by the shift to cloud computing, new technology like AI, and open banking initiatives. And, of course, competition from global tech giants likes Amazon, Google and PayPal.

All this is transforming the way that banks work. They are becoming more like technology companies, innovating at a rapid pace. From faster and easier ways to pay and save to intelligent tools that empower us to manage our money better.

As the CHRO for a banking technology company, I’m fortunate to see first-hand how technology is shaping the future of banking and the new and exciting career opportunities it is opening up for women in tech.

I believe it is vital we capitalize on this defining moment in our industry, to attract more women into tech roles. Globally, women make up less than 20% of the tech industry. In fact, the percentage of computing occupations held by women has been declining since 1991.

There are signs of positive change. My company, Temenos, employs over 7500 people globally, who work from 63 cities across 38 countries, representing over 90 nationalities. Of our global workforce, 34% is female. Of those under 30, 48% are women, and 45% of senior managers who report to our CEO are female.

These numbers put us on a par with the best performers in our sector including Microsoft, Google and Salesforce. They also represent year-on-year progress, even in 2020, when the pandemic had a particularly hard impact on women.

But we want to do better and will keep striving to increase the number of women in tech roles. We firmly believe in diversity, empowerment and inclusion as it brings more innovation and ultimately better results for our customers and society as a whole.

Adapting to the new normal

Working through the pandemic has required a lot of resilience and adaptability from all of us. For me, the biggest human challenge has been the lack of physical interaction within teams, which is crucial when you work in a fast-paced environment like most fintechs.

Our employees’ health and safety are, of course, a top priority, so as soon as the crisis started, we made sure that people could work remotely and that they had everything they needed to be able to do their jobs.

Overnight, we enabled 98% of our staff to work from home, and we continued to deliver our mission critical banking software and services for clients around the world.

It has been challenging, no question, but it has also been an opportunity to revisit our working arrangements and make room for more flexibility.

Maintaining culture in a crisis

Although it is incredible how fast everyone adapted, we still have to be mindful that remote work can take its toll on people’s personal lives, with the lines between home and work being very blurry during these times.

We’ve invested a lot of time and energy into well-being programs and initiatives to promote mental health, self-care and encourage work-life balance as much as possible. In fact, Temenos was named the winner of the ‘Culture in a Crisis’ category at the Business Culture Awards 2020 in recognition of our response during the pandemic.

The founding stone on which the company was built over 27 years ago is “People are the Key”. This means that we are first and foremost a people-centric organization - the vision, commitment, and ambition of our people is key to our success.

It has been heartening to see how the pandemic brought out the best in our people. Employees with children created WhatsApp groups and volunteered to host interactive sessions that kept kids busy in a creative and fun way whilst they were working. As the lock-down restricted our workout options, teams also organized online yoga sessions.

Skills to succeed

Although hard skills are essential, it’s the cultural fit that ultimately makes someone a Temenosian – and this also a crucial part of our recruitment process, where we assess the applicant based on our cultural principles of Temenosity.

We’re always on the lookout for great talent. While there isn’t a specific checklist of skills to join us, we look for people that demonstrate learning agility and growth mindset in terms of ability and willingness to try new things, make mistakes and learn from them. We also value neurodiversity, as this brings different perspectives, helping build strong organizations.

Working at Temenos is described as a roller coaster! Since we are fast-paced and constantly evolving, you never know where the ride will take you, and that’s part of the fun. We all share a passion for innovation, a shared sense of purpose to transform the banking industry and are committed to making Temenos – and the people who connect with us – successful.

 We are results-driven, operate with a long-term strategic view, whilst keeping a day-to-day sense of urgency. We work with freedom and are not afraid to take risks, always value creativity and, of course, we put our clients at the heart of everything we do. There’s always room to grow, we foster an open-door approach, encourage mentorship and are always willing to lean in and collaborate – we don’t like to let hierarchy define us.

Together, we are making banking better, so we welcome everyone who shares this passion to join us on our digital acceleration journey.

Monica RancatiAbout the author

Monica Rancati is the Chief Human Resources Officer at global banking software company Temenos. Responsible for all aspects of Human Resources globally, Monica has decades of experience leading a wide range of HR disciplines within the technology sector.


WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here.

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Inspirational Woman: Miroslava Betinova | Head of Strategic Sales, PPS

Miroslava Betinova

Hi, my name is Miroslava and I love #fintech.

Somebody once told me: “you can only love a person, an animal or perhaps a cake. You can’t love an industry, that is too vague.”

I disagree. You can love what you do - and that happens when you feel your work is contributing towards something, helps to create something, shapes something, challenges something, improves and betters the way things are done now and takes them to their best future version of themselves.

I came to London when I was 18 years old from a small village in Slovakia and I really wanted to meet the Queen, or at least see her. At such a young age, you have no fear of the unknown, and ‘future security’ is a concept you have barely started to grasp. Whilst I ticked all of those boxes and some there was one thing I was sure of – whatever it is that I am giving up time with my family for has to translate into something awesome, something I will be proud of and something that will fill the void of Sunday lunch with my parents.

July 2021 will mark my 5th anniversary at PPS as its Head of strategic sales for fintech & paytech UK & Europe.

I can safely say there is zero space left for any void in my life. I’ve found a role in a company and industry that generates excitement, provides me with a constant learning and fills my daily calendar with a sense of purpose and achievement.

Oh and I’ve been to the Buckingham Palace for the Trooping of the Colours and I did finally get a peep at The Queen!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I was never one for in 5 years’ time I want to sit in a big office with a team of X amount of people around” type of a planner but I always knew whatever I ended up doing needed to feel exciting, needed to have a good vibe, needed to give me a strong sense of achievement and needed to feel relevant. A very broad thought but it naturally crystalised, bit by bit in what I am doing today – working in an organisation that is helping to shape and drive the fintech scene across UK and Europe and I am surrounded by incredibly creative, smart, driven and above all passionate people, be it my direct colleagues, my clients or industry peers.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

One of the biggest challenges for me was to find a way to combine my university studies with securing an income through doing something that is related to my studies and will be of use once I graduate. I didn’t want just a uni job, I wanted a job that would allow me on Tuesday to apply in practice the theory I’ve learnt on Monday. I realised the best way to go about this is by finding companies, in whatever industry, that are providing graduate programmes and schemes. This proved to be the right strategy. I first joined Chubb Fire and Security, a UTC company, selling firefighting equipment – a dream of a 20-year-old girl? Certainly not! Did it provide me with invaluable all-round experience in understanding the commercial and marketing environment by being placed in their central HQ? 100% yes as it allowed me to gain invaluable transferable skills.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Every time a new programme and customer of PPS launches to the market, I get to be part of their journey. Enabling innovation and being part of something that can permanently impact the way we interact with financial services fills me with excitement and pride in my work, admiration of my employer and thrill for the fintech industry.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I am direct and not scared to ask questions. What’s the worst that can happen? Somebody might say no to something or turn me away. Once you realise that the worst possible outcome of anything you are trying to get done or achieve is a rejection you will be filled with an endless sense of drive and energy. Because we all know that for every NO there will eventually be a YES.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

If you don’t understand how it works, ask! It is much better asking, however stupid you feel the question might be, than going through life pretending that you understand.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

The fintech and paytech space is filled with countless inspirational female leaders, founders, professionals, advisors, and enthusiasts. The only barrier for success is one’s fear or lack of hard work, but neither of those are linked to a particular gender in my opinion.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Looking at this from the perspective of a PPS team member, I see no difference between male and female success. What I see is the need for companies to provide flexibility, foster an environment of loyalty and provide adequate reward. Any company which is flexible enough to reflect one’s circumstances and rewards the commitment of its team members will create loyalty and longevity of talent retention by osmosis. All of these are gender neutral in my view.

But if I had to pick one single item to answer your question it would be flexibility.

There is currently only 15% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Its a shockingly low statistic then. The thing I would do, is draw on one of my biggest drivers behind everything I do, in my professional and private life: curiosity. Fintech is mostly made by millennials, for millennials and below. I’d make sure to influence Gen Z by showing them the cool, funky and INCLUSIVE side of fintech that is enabling solutions that will become engrained in their daily lives. It is in human nature to try new things because we feel curious about what they do and how they make us feel. So, I say – make your future workforce curious.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I could name many events, podcasts, subscriptions here but all I would do is tell you what works for me – and it might not work for the next amazing talent in the paytech space.

What I would say is, if you feel your inbox is already in overdrive and you can’t keep up with release-by-release notifications, subscribe to news from a place such as Finextra that offers daily or weekly summaries. Another personal fav is Marcel van Oost’s bite size newsletter and LinkedIn posts.

Same applies to podcasts. If you already feel there is too much noise in your head and listening to another voice talking at you for an hour is the last thing you need this might not be for you. But If you geek out in fintech chat as much as I do and are looking for some seriously therapeutic voices check out the 11:FS Fintech Insider podcast (special shout out to Jason Bates).

But above all, network. Talk to people. Tell them what you do, why you do it and why is it absolutely awesome. Talk to them at conferences, networking events, on a plane, while trying to scuba dive. Whatever the time and place. Just tell your story. The rest will somewhat fall into place.


WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here


Woman on Laptop

Get your tech skills ready for the future

Woman on LaptopAlthough most of us are complaining that the national wifi is groaning under the strain of millions more working from home, imagine how much worse this lockdown would be without the tech to communicate.

Just pause and think about it for a moment. We were already glued to our phones, but now we depend on them more than ever to keep in touch with friends and family. The internet and our home computers allow us to work remotely. Smart TVs help keep us entertained and up to date on the world outside. Health and fitness trackers feed data into the impact of our one-hour workouts so we can track our progress. Tech is saving us all.

Fintech is a big part of it too. Increased online shopping (and let us all clap our hands for the couriers and posties) especially for groceries, means a rise in online payments. In fact, some sources say that FinTech has experienced an upsurge of 72% in usage during the pandemic. Even on the high street, contactless has become the payment of preference with the upper limit now raised to £45 so that people can avoid using cash and keep the virus at bay.

Turns out the world owes a lot to all those unsung female tech heroines who – back in the day – invented and developed computer science.

Why fintech is the future

While pundits debate what sort of world we’ll be living in when this is all over, there’s one thing we know for certain: fintech will be playing a bigger role than ever.

It’s true that some of the fintechs – like many other businesses – are having a bumpy ride, but when you look at the way our behaviour’s changing you can see how the industry is going to bounce back.

Let’s look at some of the evidence.

Banks were already closing their branches, even though branch banking was still popular with some customers. With less footfall on the high street, those customers are either obliged, or more inclined, to choose online banking and mobile apps. Now that they’ve switched, many of them will stick with digital options for convenience.

In the same way, where some consumers might have been more wary or even not have trusted technology in the past, they will be more likely to embrace it after this crisis. They will be more open to open banking, for example.

Companies too have had to adopt fintech to get themselves through this. Some insurance companies are turning to block chain to verify medical data and, because banks are having to move more quickly to offer digital services, they need fintech consultants to help them upgrade.

Governments are supporting fintechs. The Australian senate has reopened its committee on FinTech and RegTech to support the industry and find new solutions that can be delivered by the government and private sector.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) is asking the country’s financial services sector to reinforce internal fintech capacity and invest in research and development. While in South Korea, new laws have been passed to regulate and legalise cryptocurrencies.

So if fintech is the future, what can you do to update your skills, networks and know-how so that you’re ready for when this crisis is over?

Develop your skills and knowledge

First, take a look online and you’ll find some excellent, even free, courses from world renowned universities like the Open University (OU) and Harvard.

The OU’s free courses include several on data analysis and interpretation, including Simple coding, which will teach you the basics of Python, and a course on Learn to code for analysis. You will be awarded a ‘certificate of completion’ for these when you finish. Harvard also runs several free online courses in programming, data science and computer science.

If your budget allows, both offer paid courses as well, but there’s plenty to keep you busy if you’d rather not splash out at this point.

On the banking side, things are moving quickly. You’d be wise not just to keep up to date with the news but to follow comment and analysis too. You might consider listening to podcasts of discussions with experts and thought-leaders, or extending your understanding of the sector through reading.

And while many events can’t run anymore, some of the best are going online and providing great opportunities to network and learn. Innovate Finance, for example, had to cancel their conference for UK Fintech Week (20-24 April) but they’re marking the week with a digital programme. And the Financial Alliance for Women are opening sessions in their Ask the Expert series to non-members for the first time.

At any stage of your career, it’s important to network, learn and develop your skills if you want to stay ahead of the curve. At this strange moment in history, it’s just as possible to do all of that as it was before the lockdown – and all because of tech.

Helene PanzarinoAbout the author

Helene Panzarino is an Associate Director at LIBF’s Centre for Digital Banking and Finance. A former banker turned entrepreneur, educator and investment readiness adviser in fintech, she’s helped over 15,000 small to medium enterprises access funding options. She’s listed as a Senior Leader on the Women in Fintech Powerlist 2019.


Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Fintech needs women – 5 reasons why this is the place to be

Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain conceptA recent study cited by a leading Fintech publication found that whilst 30% of the fintech workforce is female, only 17% of senior fintech roles are held by women and just over 5% of founders are women.

These statistics are pretty shocking as Fintech is such a dynamic world of discovery and innovation.

The number of women in Fintech are slowly improving but there are systemic flaws, deep-rooted challenges and biases which persist that create barriers to gender diversity and hindering women’s rise to the top.

Having had extensive experience in mission-driven Fintech and experience, I know how it feels to be a female in such a male dominated environment. I am determined to help open doors for the next generation of women and hope to encourage, coach and mentor females who want to pursue a career in Fintech. I now have a platform from which to do this after recently co-founding a new banking app, Novus, so watch this space.

A common misconception is that the Fintech is ‘boring’ but it is so far from that. It’s such an exciting and dynamic industry to be a part of and here are my 5 reasons why Fintech is the hottest place to be for women in tech:

The UK economy need Fintech

The Fintech industry was initially born as a sub-set of financial services; however, it has continued to evolve and today, the UK owns a 10% global share of the growing sector. No longer a sub-industry, Fintech is a force on its own and a part of everyday life. In 2020 alone, $4.1bn was poured into the sector in the form of investments, with revenues totalling over £11bn. In addition to this, the UK government recently conducted a review to further bolster its support for the industry.

The variety of options are endless

Whether it’s payments, crypto, digital banking or sustainable finance, there are unlimited avenues to explore within Fintech. Market intelligence platform, CB Insights, recently unveiled the third annual ‘Fintech 250’ – a list of 250 of the top private Fintech companies that are using technology to transform financial services and is well worth looking up for further insight. In the UK alone, there are more than 1100 Fintech companies across these sub-categories, each employing thousands of people.

A fast-growing industry

Both the government and the investment industry are working hard to ensure Fintech is set up for success in the years to come. In 2021, the industry is expected to double its previous rate of growth at the very least, maybe more – and this is what makes Fintech a hot place to be right now. It also means that salaries in Fintech are one of the highest across different sectors! In a post-Brexit and post COVID world, the growth of the sector is almost certain to accelerate with the continued digitisation of consumer behaviour.

You can make a difference to individual lives

71% of UK citizens encounter at least one Fintech process in some way, every day. Simple tasks such as paying online for a product or service means a likely interaction with a Fintech company. No matter where you live in the world, you have to deal with financial systems to live your life. The ability to make an impact on the well-being of individuals and families around the world is inspiring and the opportunities to work on such projects are far greater than you might think and are hugely rewarding.

Females are the future of Fintech

Fintech needs women more than ever right now. The diversity numbers within all major Fintech companies, especially in senior leadership levels, are massively lacking. Traditionally, finance has been a highly male dominated environment and unfortunately, Fintech has inherited that flaw. Although many firms have recognised this and are actively trying to pull their male skewed gender ratio to the middle, this needs to be done on a much bigger scale for the sector to see any real change. There is so much room and scope for females in this industry.

Don’t be afraid to get involved - do your homework and dig out those companies who are keen to embrace new females in tech. Co-founding Novus is giving me the opportunity to just that and really start to redress the balance

About the author

Shruti Rai is the Chief Growth Officer and a Co-Founder at Novus, the new sustainable banking app making it easy to generate positive impact from everyday purchases. With extensive experience in mission-driven fintech, Shruti is a purveyor of enabling financial apps for doing good, improving lives and using her position to steward many more women into finance and tech.

 


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