There are plenty of cliches about careers in finance, one of which is that traditional finance firms can be pretty stuffy, structured, and hierarchical environments. And, like all cliches, there’s a strong element of truth in there.
Fintech carries its own cliches, of course. These are creative environments with a relaxed dress code – think fun and dynamic workspaces and flexibility when it comes to when and where you’ll work from.
However, the cliches around fintech or these types of workplaces have created a misconception amongst some that these ‘casual’ environments mean people don’t work as hard.
Of course, we all know that this isn’t true. While the working day may look different and there is a stronger emphasis on culture, fintechs are very results-focused organisations – and innovation requires serious hard work.
Fintech is maturing
Fintech is often described as a disruptive sector, but that can be a bit misleading. Fintech, especially when it comes to scale-ups like Currencycloud, isn’t all about moving fast and breaking things.
Financial services are heavily regulated and one of the challenges many fintechs face is navigating this complex environment. For scale-ups, recruiting talent from traditional financial institutions can bring a deeper understanding of regulations and experience of how to operate within them.
The key for a successful fintech at this stage is balancing pace and dignity: pace means you have to innovate and tackle long-standing problems with fresh thinking, dignity means you understand the institutions that are already in place and recognise that rules aren’t always made to be broken (at least not in a hurry). People coming in from traditional finance backgrounds can bring huge value here.
This makes fintech a flexible and rewarding place to work
Different environments suit different people – the key is for everyone to find a balance that works.
Fintech is not inherently anti-establishment, but about using technology to improve the delivery of financial services. It is not a movement or revolution, but an evolution. Technology has enabled a new and different way of doing things – things that traditional banks are often unable to do themselves.
But this evolution comes with great purpose. Fintechs tap into what the author Dan Pink describes as ‘intrinsic motivation’, meaning motivation driven by a kind of internal longing. More often than not, for people who thrive in fintech, this intrinsic motivation is solving problems with technology.
To succeed in fintech, you invariably need to be a problem-solver; driven either by solving a particular problem you are passionate about (such as making remittances more cost-effective for families) or a love for the autonomy to spend time cracking problems and finding neat solutions.
Successful fintechs have harnessed these motivations and created environments where people can master their problem-solving skills. This leads to high levels of motivation and productivity that, ultimately, benefits all.
Fintechs in all stages of development need people with the skills and experience to navigate the regulatory landscape and continue to grow. This is a fantastic opportunity for finance professionals looking for a different environment and a new way of flexing their skills to get a different kind of satisfaction from work.