Intersekt 2022 draws out challenges for fintechs

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Considering Australia’s significant fintech and financial sector experience, it’s no surprise Victoria’s recent Intersekt Festival focused on leveraging Australia’s fintech market to its full potential.
Key issues and opportunities

This two-day conference never fails to generate insightful discussion around key issues and opportunities facing the sector.

With domestic and global representation from fintech businesses and associations, alongside Australia’s financial institutions, regulators and professional services firms, it was clear that three challenges are front of mind across all areas of Australia’s fintech sector – how the sector can attract and retain talent, access to much-needed capital to support growth, and not only keeping up-to-date with regulatory change but a regulatory environment that is agile to change.

While these issues affected most sectors throughout the pandemic and its recovery, Australia’s fintech sector needs both government backing and industry collaboration now more than ever to retain its status as an early adopter and leader in financial services innovation and technology.

Talent shortage

One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic for businesses has been on its people. Industries across Australia are facing a resourcing crisis, with more jobs than people to fill them, which is particularly felt in highly skilled sectors including technology industries such as fintech, where attracting and retaining talented people is a real challenge.

The technology industry is used to high turnover, competition for talent and ongoing shortages of skills in emerging technologies, but this has been intensified with the shift to hybrid working models and people relocating from cities, regions, states – and even countries. The Federal Government recognises this issue and has committed to more education and training in critical sectors including technology. Following the recent Jobs and Skills Summit, it has identified 36 immediate initiatives to support boosting Australia’s workforce. The Victorian Government, Presenting Partner at the 2022 Intersekt conference, is also undertaking various initiatives such as the Digital Jobs Program to encourage people to join the digital space workforce or up-skill.

It’s clear the sector is excited for the planned government investment and its contribution to the technology sector will hopefully be clear in the October 2022 Federal Budget. Beyond government support, fintech businesses must continue to think about how to attract, engage and retain people in the best way for them. This can include Employee Stock Ownership Plans and generous remuneration structures and packages, but the challenge is broader than that.

Ask yourself: What is your fintech business doing about diversity? Are you challenging the norm? How do you recruit? On what criteria do you review performance and promote? Motivating and engaging your people should be deeply embedded within your business strategy. People need to believe and buy into the company culture you are creating (or looking to create), and understand how they can champion it and feel empowered to make a difference. People need opportunity, engagement and to feel appreciated in addition to being rewarded.

Access to capital

As we have seen in the public markets and venture capital landscape, valuations of tech businesses are coming in lower and funding is slowing down as a result, but it hasn't stopped. There is still funding out there for businesses looking to solve problems that have a great value proposition, scalable market, strong strategy, passionate team and a plan to use capital efficiently. Seed and Series A Funding continues to grow and venture capitalists have funds to deploy. Tax incentives for early-stage investors also remain to encourage the development of successful innovative companies.

However, valuations are now more “realistic” based on the current market, and funding is focused on businesses with products and/or services that have a real application that customers want, and scalability. Be sure to align your strategy and model accordingly.


Regulators and government face the challenge of adapting and updating the financial regulation frameworks to keep up with a fast paced, innovative and disruptive industry. Fintechs and financial services firms need to stay ahead of changing regulation.

It’s critical that regulators and industry leaders continue to work together to achieve a good balance between innovation and consumer protection. We don’t want to see slow regulatory development hold back a borderless fintech industry. This applies to fintech’s whose growth ambitions lie within Australia or in expansion across international markets. Continuous collaboration and education between the regulating bodies and fintech industry leaders is key.

The Australian fintech community is well placed to overcome these and other market challenges. Our domestic talent and strong focus on innovation will continue to push the industry, services and products forward. In addition, we are hopeful that the Federal Budget announcement in October will bring the sector much-needed clarity around what investment you can rely on to support your growth ambitions in the coming years.

If you are looking to bring a new product to market, want to expand your fintech business or whether you are a financial institution considering the integration of a new technology to enhance operational efficiency, service delivery and customer engagement, we can help you.

We work with our clients to enhance their business models and navigate the complexity of a regulated financial services market as they scale. Whatever stage your business may be at, you can reduce the time and risk by working with us.

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