Recovery from COVID-19 has become a key priority for fintechs over 2021, while their focus on business growth shows the optimism in the sector, according to a report from Barclays.
As the official insights partner of Money 20/20 global conference series, Barclays conducted in 2020 a survey of over 200 financial services leaders from across EMEA, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. From these senior executives, Barclays Corporate Banking found that optimism in the sector is high as it enters 2021.
Whilst recovery from COVID-19 might be a likely top priority for the coming year, it came in second place when respondents were asked what they would be focusing most on during 2021 – with 42% of leaders selecting it. Top spot instead went to ensuring business growth, with nearly three in five (57%) respondents picking it as their main area of concentration.
In a continuation of a trend seen in 2019, respondents often rated their own region as the most likely source of future innovation. This ‘home’ bias was particularly strong in Asia-Pacific, where China, India, Japan, and Southeast Asia together claimed over 83% of regional votes when considering the key sources of innovation over the next five years.
However, China’s reign as the most likely site of financial services innovation did not continue from 2019, with Barclays’ most recent survey showing that nearly one in four (24%) key industry leaders now view the US as the most probable location for the rise of payment innovation over the next five years.
Barclays’ research also suggests that Asia-Pacific may be the new focal point for expectations around Open Banking, with interest from Europe dropping year-on-year.
Firms’ confidence in their own cybersecurity dropped by 5% versus 2019, with less than half of respondents (42%) feeling satisfied with their business’ approach to the issue. Businesses in EMEA feel least confident about their security provisions, with one in three (33%) indicating that their own cyber security needs further investment.