AI, data, and the future of fintech in focus at Fintech Hui 2024

The Fintech Hui Taumata, an important annual event in New Zealand, celebrated innovation, collaboration, and the collective journey towards a thriving financial technology ecosystem across the pacific. With “thriving together” as its guiding theme, the hui encapsulated the spirit of unity and shared purpose among participants, ranging from industry leaders to emerging startups. We dive into the key themes and lessons from this landmark event, reflecting on the insights shared and the future paths carved out for fintech in Aotearoa.


Customer-centric innovation and AI’s role


The discussions underscored the critical importance of placing customers at the heart of fintech innovation. The key lesson here is that understanding and addressing customer needs is foundational to creating meaningful and impactful financial technologies.

AI’s emergence as a key tool in this was evident, with panellists during one session highlighting its role in enhancing operational efficiency and personalising customer experiences. Riaz Nasrabadi, Head of Products and Solutions, Visa New Zealand and South Pacific shared key ways companies are balancing user experience and security to maintain trust, sharing, “we continue our investment in AI powered risk detection and scoring capabilities…We’ve been doing digital authentication for payments for quite a long time now. It isn’t the easiest thing when it comes to the experience, but it actually provides another layer of security that the payments ecosystem can use”

However, the cautionary note was clear: AI’s potential can only be fully realised with a conscious effort to stay connected to customer needs.


Security, trust, and regulatory support


Balancing innovation with security and trust was another dominant theme. The event illuminated the delicate equilibrium between leveraging cutting-edge technologies and maintaining the security and trust that are the bedrock of the financial industry. The lesson here is twofold: innovation should not come at the expense of security, and regulatory frameworks, such as sandboxes, are vital in nurturing an environment where new ideas can be tested safely and effectively.


The power of partnerships


“Thriving together” was evident in the emphasis on partnerships and collaborations. The success stories and discussions from the hui demonstrated that no single entity could navigate the complexities of fintech alone. The value of building bridges—whether between startups, established financial institutions, or cross-sector collaborations. These partnerships are not just strategic but essential for addressing the multifaceted challenges and opportunities within the fintech landscape.


Addressing fragmentation and embracing open banking


The event highlighted the challenges of fragmentation within the government and the financial ecosystem, stressing the need for cohesive strategies and clearer standards, particularly in digital identity and open banking. The takeaway is the necessity for a unified approach and transparent communication, as evidenced by international examples like Brazil’s rapid implementation of open banking. For New Zealand, embracing these practices could accelerate innovation and financial inclusivity.


Empowering through education and inclusion


A resounding message from the hui was the importance of education, representation, and inclusion in fintech. From empowering communities to addressing the gender gap in tech design, the discussions called for a more inclusive and supportive environment. The lesson here is clear: fostering diversity and financial literacy is not just beneficial but essential for the sector’s growth and for ensuring that fintech solutions are accessible and relevant to all.


Looking ahead: the future of fintech in NZ


As we reflect on the fintech hui 2024, it’s evident that New Zealand’s fintech ecosystem is on a vibrant path, marked by innovation, collaboration, and a deep-seated commitment to inclusivity and customer-centricity. The event not only showcased the achievements and potential of fintech in Aotearoa but also set the stage for a future where the financial technology sector continues to thrive, together. With the insights and lessons garnered, the journey ahead for fintech in New Zealand is bright, guided by the shared vision of creating a more accessible, secure, and innovative financial world for all.


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