How great would it be? – Issue 4
Interview: Stanley Skoglund, Non-Executive Chairman, Findexable
1. What is needed in terms of fintech research?
What is needed in my view is a broader scope or perhaps a better representation of relevant variables that can be combined to produce better insights. Research in a certain sense has to be relevant, narrow and valid, which is of course quite right. But overall I feel we should create research that is more relevant to more touchpoints outside of fintech and how fintech interacts in people’s lives in a broader sense. For me it would be a hugely positive step forward if we could step out of the fintech silo to make research cross fertilise with other ecosystems to reflect the increasingly connected world we live in. For practical purposes, for people working across sectors it would be valuable to be able to cross reference.
Most of us are getting used to having access to information at the fingertip. I can envisage financial research becoming available to people whereby they can almost have their own sandbox – extremely valuable if it can be accessed in an easy way and if people can combine different variables in a way that make sense for them.
Sources of data are highly varied and not standardised. In an ideal world you can compare like for like but in research today there is always the question of validity – are we talking about the same thing and are we indeed comparing like for like? If not, does this make the research useless? I don’t think this is the case at all but there is a need for methodologies that can help us compare in a meaningful way both qualitative and quantitative outcomes across geographies. And while quantitative research is in a sense easier to come by, I believe that any credible research will have to include qualitative variables to be valuable.
2. How would it help the industry?
I think the improvement in fintech research to broaden relevance will help the fintech industry to create a better understanding and raise its credibility with non-industry stakeholders. It will help the industry make its contribution to society more visible by, for example, looking at a broader set of variables such as financial inclusion in developing regions and aspects such as diversity. For outsiders fintech still represents either Silicon Valley or traditional financial institutions with their associated reputational issues. Research that can illustrate the impact of fintech along both economic and social parameters will enhance credibility, not only with investors, but also in terms of political capital and the broader community.
3. Why is the Global Fintech Index an initiative that you wanted to be a part of?
Firstly, I like working with talented people and the team behind Findexable is a good team of really committed individuals. My second consideration is that it is a broad but critical area. I have a long corporate and professional history in payments and fintech having worked with both large blue-chip organisations and small start-ups, helping them navigate technology, regulation, risk and compliance. This type of initiative and the ambition we have with the Global Fintech Index makes me curious and hopeful that the role I can play will help us address issues close to my heart – diversity, gender parity and financial inclusion – to make these issues as much a part of business-as-usual as other issues such as how much inward investments there are in a given region year on year. For me it would be really helpful to create an index that has broader relevance, speaks to a broader audience and make visible that those variables that represent reality are as important as financial metrics in decision making and how we view trends in society.
The Global Fintech Index by Findexable launches worldwide on 4 December 2019
Follow us on @findexable