The University of Cape Town (UCT) has unveiled a new fintech short course at the UCT GSB (Graduate School of Business) at a time when new technologies are disrupting the finance sector, creating new careers.
According to research company Disrupt Africa, the continent is already home to more than 300 fintech startups, having raised almost $100 million over the last 2.5 years.
The industry is crying out for skilled professionals who understand the technology and are able to capitalise on its potential, said Dr Co-Pierre Georg, associate professor at the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM) at UCT and convener of the new course: Facing the Fintech Challenge.
“The fast-moving financial services industry is facing major digital disruption. Emerging platforms and decentralised technologies are providing new ways to transfer value and analyse information, leading to increased competition from agile and innovative start-ups. This creates entirely new jobs, many challenges but also opportunities in the industry,” said Georg.
“To manage in this brave new world, financial services professionals need fresh insight, knowledge and practical skills.”
According to a new report from Aon, 83% of financial institutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) fear their business is at risk of being lost to standalone fintech companies, and 49% believe they are unprepared to adapt to innovation, with nearly a quarter saying they have suffered a monetary loss over the last 12 months as a result.
A different survey from Fintech Circle uncovered that 94% of financial services professionals suspect their colleagues of using buzzwords such as “blockchain” and “Artificial Intelligence” without understanding their meaning. Over half (60%) claim that such bluffing is a common occurrence.
“Organisations need to move fast to upskill their people and individuals who want to thrive in this industry also need to take ownership of their careers and ensure that the they are able to keep abreast of developments,” said Georg.
He said that the three-day “Facing the Fintech Disruption Challenge: Fintech for Financial Services Professionals” course is designed for a wide array of people with no tertiary level maths training.
“The course will help people working in financial planning, auditing, governance, risk and compliance positions to prepare for the changes resulting from the new technologies. They will be able to understand and identify potential shortcomings in their own skills and training, so they have a clear path for future-proofing their careers and staying relevant.”
Facing the Fintech Disruption Challenge: Fintech for Financial Services Professionals runs in Cape Town from May 7 to 9 and in Johannesburg from June 4 to 6.