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Online investment firms to have biggest impact on financial services: Survey

In Singapore, 40 per cent of respondents indicate that the biggest impact from financial technology entrants will be from online investment firms - higher than the global average of 30 per cent, says recruitment company Robert Half.

SINGAPORE: The biggest impact of financial technology (FinTech) on traditional financial services will come from online investment firms, according to a survey by recruitment firm Robert Half.

According to its press release on Wednesday (Feb 24), Robert Half said 40 per cent of respondents in Singapore identified these online investment firms as the biggest threat. In comparison, the global average is 30 per cent, it noted.

The company polled 400 financial services leaders in four countries - Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom - of which 100 were from Singapore, it said. 

Following online investment firms, the next biggest impact will be from challenger banks at 18 per cent, and peer-to-peer lenders at 12 per cent, the Singapore respondents indicated. This was in line with the global findings. 

Ms Stella Tang, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore, said FinTech firms aim to capture customers by offering a more intuitive way to access products and services. 

“The power of disruptive technology lies in owning the customer interface, not in owning assets. A disruptive start-up company makes it easier for customers to access products and services that other companies own or produce," Ms Tang said in the press release.

"The challenge to banks and financial institutions is to ensure they do not lose their customers to new firms offering easier, cheaper or more intuitive ways to compare and acquire the financial services they need.”

SPENDING MORE TO COUNTER THREATS

In response to the threats posed by FinTech challengers, incumbent companies are increasing their spending, particularly in upgrading their own user interfaces and moving more of their interactions to mobile and digital, Robert Half said.

Globally, respondents indicated they intend to up their spending by 11.11 per cent on average. In Singapore, the average increase is 13.57 per cent, the survey showed.

"That’s why financial services professionals with experience in these new technologies are in high demand,” said Ms Tang, who added that "there is still a long way to go" before FinTech firms topple the established banking hierarchy in Singapore.