Fintech. It’s a sector we’ve been hearing – and talking – about a lot for the past five years.
And the conversation isn’t going to stop any time soon.
When you grow up with a strong work ethic and a passion for taking on new challenges, there’s no doubt that you’ll do well in life. That you’ll be drawn to situations and opportunities that others might find daunting.
In this issue of the Marketing Expert Series, we meet Robin Ang – co-founder and Group CEO of Finology. Those of you who have been following this Series will remember that we spoke with Finology’s Head of Marketing, Vahid Ebrahimi, in a previous issue.
This time around, we deep dive into the why’s and wherefores behind the founding of Finology – a company that continues to grow, evolve and provide fintech innovations and solutions to an ever-changing society.
Hi, Robin, thank you for joining us in our Marketing Expert Series. Let’s kick off with a little context, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get to where you are now?
Sure. Growing up in a family of restaurateurs, entrepreneurship is second nature to me. I was raised in a humble environment where I learned the importance of hard work, people, innovation, perseverance, and passion in approaching life’s challenges. This has taught me to remain optimistic in the face of setbacks and maintain a positive outlook.
Building on this foundation with over two decades of entrepreneurial experience, I am now eager to tackle innovative ideas in the Fintech industry.
I am drawn to this rapidly growing field because it offers ample opportunities for investment and development in areas such as lending, insurance, real estate, and automotive. I am also passionate about finding ways to empower individuals and help businesses become sustainable and effective.
You’re the co-founder and group CEO of Finology. In a previous interview in this Series, we spoke with Vahid Ebrahimi Fakhari, Finology’s Head of Marketing, we touched on the importance of fintech and the innovations Finology stands for. What led you to found Finology and what role do you believe the company will play in the future?
By 2017, my partner, Jared Lim, and I had already established a reputable presence in the financial industry through Loanstreet, a consumer financial marketplace that we co-founded in 2012.
It is incredibly fulfilling to see the impact our technology has had on so many people, from uncles and aunties to young families and new professionals, all of whom have been able to access affordable credit and improve their lives in so many ways.
However, we realised there was still much more to be done. We observed a growing frustration with manual loan application processes that were slow, cumbersome, and lacking in accessibility. This sparked our mission to create a financial solution that would eliminate these barriers and make financial products accessible and seamless for all.
And so, Finology was born – a name inspired by the idea that finance can be accelerated through technology. Our mission is to make financial products accessible and seamless for everyone, everywhere.
Can you tell us about some of the most effective strategies that you and the team at Finology have implemented in recent years? Is there an achievement you’re most proud of?
We’ve got a couple of tricks up our sleeves that have helped us achieve great things over the past few years. For starters, we’ve invested a lot of resources into technology to make our solutions even better and give our clients a top-notch user experience. We’ve also joined forces with some of the biggest names in finance, as well as consumer brands and platforms to broaden our reach and offer more services to our valued clients.
As for what we’re proud of, there are two things that stand out. Firstly, the recognition we’ve received from the industry. Being named one of the best fintech companies in the Asia Pacific region by leading publications is a huge deal for us. It’s a reflection of all the hard work our team puts in, and we’re determined to keep raising the bar.
And secondly, but most importantly, is the trust our clients have in us. Our client retention is key to our success, and it’s amazing to see our clients coming back for more and more solutions. We feel incredibly fortunate to have such fantastic support from our clients.
The world has changed in the last few years, with the Pandemic and the shift in the economy, how has Finology been impacted by these changes?
The pandemic has definitely kicked things into high gear in the financial world. All of a sudden, there’s a huge demand for digital transformation, and that’s led to some exciting partnerships and collaborations between traditional finance players and fintech/insurtech companies like us.
We think this is all for the better, as it’s creating new opportunities to make finance more accessible and user-friendly for everyone. At Finology, we’re making the most of these changes by always improving our solutions and building relationships with even more partners.
Another silver lining of this global crisis is that it has pushed countries that were behind the times in terms of technology to catch up faster. This means a bigger market for us to explore and serve. It’s a pretty exciting time to be in finance, right?
How did the developments over the last few years affect your strategies as both co-founder and Group CEO?
The past few years have been a rollercoaster, and we’ve had to roll with the punches. To keep up with the changing landscape, we’ve sharpened our focus on making our end-to-end solutions even better for our clients. We’re also staying ahead of the game by investing in technology and building strong partnerships.
On top of that, we’ve put together a team for business development and marketing to boost our growth in the local market while making a name for ourselves regionally. It’s been a lot of work, and we look forward to seeing our efforts pay off.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges facing the fintech industry today?
One of the biggest challenges facing the fintech industry is regulation. As the industry grows, we must have clear guidelines in place to protect consumers and ensure stability in the financial system. The challenge is finding the right balance between innovation and protection.
Another challenge is the constantly-evolving consumer expectations. We believe in staying ahead of the curve and continue to offer unique solutions that make a difference in people’s lives.
Finally, data privacy and security are top concerns. With more and more financial transactions happening online, companies must implement strong security measures to protect their client’s sensitive information. At the same time, we must also make sure we are transparent about our data practices and give people control over their information.
How have these challenges affected the direction and strategies you’ve implemented with Finology?
Challenges keep us focused, reminding us to stay ahead of the curve and to continuously innovate.
Where do you see the overall fintech sector heading in the next five to ten years?
In the coming years, we’re bound to see some exciting changes in the fintech world. Advances in technology and shifts in consumer behaviour will continue to drive growth and development.
Here are a few trends that we’re watching closely:
- More and more people are turning to digital and mobile banking services.
- Alternative lending and investment options are becoming increasingly popular.
- Technology is helping to bring financial services to people who were previously “underbanked.”
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more integrated into financial services.
- Financial wellness and education are becoming a bigger priority for everyone.
All in all, the fintech sector is poised to play a vital role in shaping the future of finance and financial services. We’re eager to see what the next decade brings!
With all the digital disruption industry and the fintech innovation we’re seeing now, do you believe that there will be a continuing need for a human touch amongst all this technological advancement?
Definitely. While technology is advancing rapidly, it’s unlikely that it will completely replace human interaction in finance. People still value the personal connection and human empathy that comes with financial advice and support.
For example, even though Finology offers end-to-end digital solutions, we still give room for manual intervention. This is especially true when it comes to outlier financial decisions and circumstances.
So, I believe there will always be a need for a human touch in the fintech industry, complementing technological advancements.
Any advice you’d give to aspiring fintech entrepreneurs and marketers?
I’d say, first, find a real pain point in finance and create a solution that solves it. That’s how you’ll stand out from the crowd. Second, reach out to others in the industry, build partnerships and learn from their experiences. Lastly, don’t be afraid to test and make changes to your product or marketing strategy based on customer feedback. Continuously improve to meet the evolving needs of your target audience.
It’s been great to learn more about you and your work, Robin, thank you for sharing your experience and insights with us. How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you or Finology?
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