Financial technology groups from more than 20 cities across the world plan to form a federation of 'fintech' hubs this year in what would be the first attempt to coordinate and globalize web-based innovation transforming the financial industry.
Fintech is under the global spotlight because of its promise - or threat - to 'disrupt' traditional financial activity. One of fintech's fastest growing areas is the 'blockchain' protocol, which could enable the clearing and settlement of securities such as stocks and bonds without the need for intermediaries such as banks. More broadly new products emerging from this sector seek to offer customers cheaper, faster and easier-to-use services, and to offer financial access to people who don't or can't currently use the banking system. The sector has until now developed in a somewhat disjointed manner, as the incumbents of the financial services sector rush to compete with innovative start-ups by offering new services such as mobile instant-payment apps. Many start-ups have struggled to access clients outside their domestic markets.