Money makes the world go round. As such, the continuing interest in financial services comes as no surprise to avid industry watchers. Based on my experience of nearly 18 years in this industry, here’s the low-down on the latest trends and the accompanying career opportunities in this area:
1. Contradictory Trends of Regulatory Complexity + Process Simplicity: As banks and financial services companies get caught up in the deluge of on-going complex regulatory requirements, the accent on removing layers from corpulent non-compliance processes continues to rise in order to keep the “balance” intact. So while the compliance departments continue to hire in droves, the other departments continue to cut roles. It’s absolutely a great time to consider a career in compliance!
2. Shorter Strategic Planning Cycles: As global instability increases, and organizations continue to operate in uncertain environments, long term strategic plans are passé. The new trend is shorter term strategic outlooks. As horizons shorten, the focus shifts from fluid financials & lofty statements of intent to workable plans and clear number-driven plans. Cut to the chase, and the inference is simple – thumbs-up for careers in financial planning!
3. Spectrum-Wide Opportunities: As the world wakes up across the entire spectrum of the financial landscape every day, the unbanked get a taste of financial inclusion & microfinance, while the tech-savvy use virtual currencies and mobile apps. These trends show that there are opportunities for detours on both sides from the “middle path” of traditional banking!
4. Non-Linear Players: It is a complex ecosystem out there with banks, peer-to-peer lenders, mobile companies, card & payment operators et al and the roles of competitor vis-à-vis partner being swapped with amoebic propensity. The canvas for non-traditional and allied roles in financial services just got wider!
5. Rise of the Redback, Crowdfunding & Digital Officers: With the redback (Chinese renminbi, RMB) becoming a global top 10 currency, RMB payment hubs are emerging in financial centres. Crowdfunding is emerging as an option for investors and companies alike. Digital experts are the norm rather than the exception nowadays, which has opened up new areas for niche experts!
As these trends imply, opportunities abound if one has the right mind set and initiative. With the right approach (building relationships, being the first to notice trends and act on them), you can capitalize on latent and emerging opportunities.
NB: All views stated in the article are personal.
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