3 tips for Transitioning from Finance to FinTech
Thinking about changing careers? Chris Stappard, Managing Director of Edward Reed Recruitment, offers his advice for switching from finance to FinTech.
We live in a digital world, and the financial industry is no exception. Eschewing traditional methods, finance has merged with technology to create a whole new sector, FinTech, that is changing the way we manage our money in a big way.
With banks and other established financial institutions cutting jobs in favour of automatic processes and AI, it’s no surprise that many people in the industry are turning to FinTech for career opportunities instead. Plus, there’s a lot of investments being made in FinTech start-ups and they have incredible potential for growth, so you could end up making more money if you find the right position.
So, whether you’re looking to start somewhere fresh or are just after something more lucrative, here are the three things to consider when making the change from finance to FinTech.
Identify your transferrable skills
You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in technology to find your place in FinTech. FinTech refers to the use of technology in any aspect of financial service, including markets, banking, payments, and insurance. There’s such a broad area of focus that you’ll likely find a company to suit your interests whatever they may be. And, whether you’re technologically inclined or not, your experience in finance will be invaluable for identifying and assessing opportunities that technology specialists might overlook.
You know how the financial industry works and you have regulatory knowledge, which means you have valuable insight into the possibilities and limitations posed by standards, which will be useful when designing financial technology.
You know how the financial industry works and you have regulatory knowledge, which means you have valuable insight into the possibilities and limitations posed by standards, which will be useful when designing financial technology. Most importantly, though, FinTech companies are very data-driven, so you’ll continue to be expected to use numbers and data to make business decisions.
It’s also important to consider any other valuable professional skills that you’ve acquired in your previous roles, like communication and management. These are the kinds of qualities that will set you apart in any business, so it’s just as necessary to draw attention to them as well as your financial background.
Aim for the right companies and roles
If you don’t have a strong background in technology, don’t worry. You could focus on looking for roles at FinTech companies in financial analysis, accounting, credit risk analysis, risk management, and compliance, as these are good roles for financial specialists to fill. The big question, though, is where to apply.
There’s a lot of FinTech start-ups to choose from and not all of them will last, so working out which companies to approach can feel like a bit of a gamble.
Early-stage start-ups will probably ask you to take on a more dynamic role, which is certainly a chance to gain more responsibility, but it means you have to be much more invested in the company than you would normally be. Make sure you ask potential employers about their future goals before you accept these sorts of positions to determine whether they are in line with your own aspirations.
If you’re looking for a position with more job security, remember that it’s not only start-ups that are focussing on FinTech.
Additionally, start-ups have to be fluid but also capable enough to adapt to unexpected challenges and opportunities. Although there’s a lot of money being pumped into FinTech start-ups, a lot of them will fail. So, if you have any concerns that their plans for the future won’t provide you with the career you need, you’ll be better off looking at one of the many other FinTech companies out there.
If you’re looking for a position with more job security, remember that it’s not only start-ups that are focussing on FinTech. Established financial institutions are also working out ways to combine finance and technology to keep up with industry trends, so don’t rule out looking for major opportunities in places like HSBC and Citibank as well.
Continue to nail networking
Networking is always important if you want to keep abreast of news and job opportunities within your sector, but it is especially useful if you’re thinking about changing from a career in finance to FinTech. It’s a fast-moving sector, so by attending events such as new app launches you can get a better idea of the structure of the industry, the upcoming trends, and the sorts of positions available that might suit your experience. You may also begin to recognise some little-known companies and their representatives that you can add to your list of potential employers, as well as pick up some technological knowledge.
The buzz around FinTech means that you won’t be the only person you know who’s thinking about transitioning, so you don’t need to be shy about building relationships with like-minded professionals. They might be able to share tips and recommend places to you if they find their way into FinTech, so make sure you keep in touch with fellow job-hunters you think have the potential to become valuable through social media.
Identify your transferrable skills, find the right company, and up your networking game. Focussing on these three areas can help you make a smooth transition from finance to FinTech and find the best opportunity for you.