Founder of SuperCharger Janos Barberis is a Millennial in FinTech. He is recognized as a top-35 global FinTech leader by Institutional Investor Magazine. He sits on the FinTech advisory boards of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) and the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) and has founded three ventures to date: SuperCharger (Accelerator), FinTech Book (Publication) and FinTech HK (Research).
Today, I sat him down in between a day full of meetings to ask some questions to kick start our “Meet the FinTech Founder” series. This interview is divided into Part 1: FinTech and Part 2: Founder, which I will follow up with next week.
Part 1: FinTech
What are you most excited for in FinTech this year?
This year I am looking at regulatory technology. It has huge cost saving benefits but also it is a FinTech solution where we if we actually looked at the financial crisis, RegTech could have solved the 2007 financial crisis. So it has massive social impact and social inclusion benefits.
If you started your own FinTech startup tomorrow, what would it be on?
I would have done a digital identity data bank startup.
Blockchain and AI were brought up continuously at the FF17 as well as other FinTech events lately as the new trends to watch — do you agree?
I am not an expert in either. In blockchain, a lot of money has been put in R&D, and I haven’t really seen a commercially viable solution for it. However, from a regulatory standpoint, we see more and more interest in regulating that space so that means that a commercially application will show up this year or next year. On the AI side, again I am not an expert, but I think if it can work alongside our day to day life without us realizing that we are talking to a robot, then that is really great. Conversational chatbots, like what Clare.AI has created, would be really great for that.
There is a lot of talk on the ways that AI, machine learning, and new technologies will replace human labor. What are your thoughts on the impacts of these technologies from a social perspective?
The reality is you need less and less people to do work that used to be done before. It is really an issue because a lot of the new grads coming out of university will be squeezed. The first people you fire are not the most senior- the first people you fire are the most junior, and the least skilled. Young grads fall in both those categories — last in first out. I would expect to see that. We’re not going to go against technology, that’s clear. However technology will create a lot of wealth. The question is how we redistribute that profit across society, and maybe we can mitigate the job destruction.
Where do you think the future of FinTech is going?
Technology has always been used in the financial services industry. However if the legacy of FinTech is having financial institutions or providers being more customer focused and more customized to our demands and lifestyle, then that is what the future of FinTech would have achieved. But in itself, technology has always been used in finance so it is a but counter intuitive to say what is the future of FinTech. If it is a mentality change on customer approach and how finance is wrapped around their life, then this would have been the legacy of what we consider today as FinTech.