Bitter Chill for Fintech Industry: Funding Freeze Bites as 2023 Ends

Nigel Green, CEO of deVere Group, anticipates a greater adoption of biometric security measures by fintech firms in 2024.

Bitter Chill for Fintech Industry: Funding Freeze Bites as 2023 Ends

The fintech industry looks back on a difficult year that was characterized by funding downturns, headwinds from skyrocketing inflation, and stagnant global markets as 2023 comes to an end.

Despite a testing environment, there is a sense of optimism within the fintech community, anticipating brighter fortunes in the coming year. UKTN engaged with key figures in the UK fintech sector to gain insights into their expectations for 2024.

Andrea de Gottardo, CEO of Kroo Bank, believes that 2024 will be the true “year of AI” for fintech. While AI garnered significant attention in 2023, de Gottardo predicts that the implementation of AI across the sector will take center stage in the coming year. He emphasizes the importance of responsible implementation, stating, “It’s all about how we implement those technologies that will make the difference between doing something amazing for the customers or really screwing things up.”

Transparency from financial institutions to their customers is identified as a vital factor in ensuring responsible AI use in finance, highlighting the need for a balance between innovation and ethical considerations.

Hugh Coughlan, CTO, data, and applied intelligence at Fujitsu UK, anticipates that new legislation, particularly the Consumer Duty Act implemented in the second half of 2023, will play a crucial role in shaping the fintech industry in 2024. The act aims to raise standards of behavior from companies towards customers.

Coughlan emphasizes the need for fintechs to adhere to the new standards, asserting that those failing to protect customers adequately may risk falling behind more compliant competitors. A “customer-centric” approach prioritizing trust through responsible conduct becomes essential as regulatory scrutiny increases.

Alexis Rog, CEO of B2B fintech startup Sikoia, predicts a slowdown in startup acquisitions in 2024. Contrary to expectations of a surge in acquisitions due to struggling startups offering attractive valuations, Rog believes the costs involved will outweigh potential benefits.

Established players, according to Rog, may be hesitant to absorb startups due to integration challenges, competing priorities, and a risk-off stance. This prediction suggests a shift away from the acquisition trend witnessed in 2022 and 2023, with companies prioritizing sustainable cash flow over aggressive growth strategies.

Nigel Green, CEO of deVere Group, anticipates a greater adoption of biometric security measures by fintech firms in 2024. With cyber threats constantly evolving, security is paramount in the financial industry, particularly for mobile-first fintechs and digital banks.

Green predicts that fintech companies will increasingly invest in robust security measures, with a particular emphasis on biometric authentication methods such as fingerprint and facial recognition. Biometrics, he argues, provide an additional layer of security, enhancing user authentication and protecting sensitive financial information.

The incorporation of advanced biometric technologies aims to bolster consumer trust and mitigate the risks associated with identity theft and cyberattacks, ensuring the integrity of digital financial transactions.:

As the fintech industry looks ahead to 2024, the anticipation of significant developments in AI implementation, adherence to consumer-centric regulations, a potential slowdown in acquisitions, and the increased adoption of biometric security signals a year of evolution and adaptation. Fintech companies appear poised to navigate challenges and embrace innovative solutions, underscoring the resilience and dynamism of the sector in the face of a rapidly changing financial landscape.