“Fintech for inclusion” seems to be on everyone’s lips and countless articles have been written on advancing the benefits of fintech for the underbanked and underserved segments. Undeniably, many of us, to a certain extent, may have already benefited from the adoption of fintech, from payment to data-driven investment in consultancy services.
With more intense competition between the major players, it would translate into better services at a lower cost.
However, the term “customer loyalty” and “customer satisfaction” may no longer apply in this era of digitalisation. Customers may not be loyal although they are satisfied with a particular service provider.
Seamless easy experience remains the utmost important factor for customers in their selection of a service provider. In other words, a service provider may face the risk of losing its customers at just the slightest inconveniences from technical glitches in their platforms.
This explains why fintech providers are so obsessed in improving customer experience particularly in the area of digital on-boarding in their services. Palatable decent services is no longer good enough but services that intrigue and keep customers delighted may help to retain them.
Investing With Fintech
On the investment front, customers may be inclined to prioritise investment returns over convenience. Thus for investment platforms, they may stop utilising the platform if it fails to generate enough returns according to the users’ risk profile or risk appetite. Conversely, they may still utilise the platform, even if it is complicated, as long as the provider could deliver some ‘magic figures’ for their investment returns.
So, with a myriad of fintech systems that can help us to save, borrow, plan, trade, invest and automate our portfolios along with alternative investments and in emerging asset classes such as Decentralised Finance (DeFi) – cryptocurrencies and Non-Fungible Token (NFT), could we invest better with fintech? Could we make more profitable returns compared to our predecessors or to those who are reluctant to embrace the technology?
Studies have shown that humans are not always rational especially when it comes to investing. Digital assisted investment tools can help us invest with less emotions and make better fact-based decisions. For instance, with the advancement of fintech applications with Artificial intelligence (AI), we could preserve the value of assets with the right risk-management techniques. Market sentiments for a particular asset or asset types could be gauged with the help of fintech applications in analysing and interpreting into human language by looking into their preferences, their opinions, what they say, likes or dislikes.
However, whether the tools can be harnessed for better investment decisions depends on how smart we are in utilising it. The increased amount of available information together with fake news daily, may result in ‘illusion of control’ over our investment abilities or ‘illusion of knowledge’ over the capacity of fintech platforms for investing.
Such psychological biases could lead to excessive financial risk-taking that inadvertently results in less than optimal investment decisions when we underreact or overreact to information. Overreaction and under-reaction to information are due to our brain’s tendency to use shortcuts when processing large amount of information as detailed in the psychological literature.
Trying to avoid the ‘falling out of herd’ mentality is another type of bias commonly experienced when making investment decisions. This can then lead to domino effects of ‘false consensus’ and ‘momentum bias’ when making decisions.
‘Investing is most intelligent when it is most business like’ and ‘Be fearful when others are greedy’ are perhaps the famous quotes by Warren Buffet that we have to remember when investing. We can only consistently beat the market and earn a return only if we are smarter than the market. Hence, by just emulating the trading strategies of others or adopting their software could make us as smart or as silly but not necessarily smarter than others.
No matter how sophisticated or data-driven the fintech platform is, the ability to discern real from fake news is also critical. We are essentially living in a big machine under digital surveillance daily, with tons of information produced daily from the moment we use electronic devices.
With increased competition, major players may be heading for more partnerships and initiatives such as Open-Banking, to share and leverage our data in providing a more customised application and solution for us.
After all, fintech is also a tool that feeds on data. The right investment action for better investment outcome could not be possibly extracted from a large amount of garbage.
Yet, being not digitally exposed may also mean becoming more digitally vulnerable to financial scams. Thus, it is important to invest in oneself by acquiring knowledge and skills, while undertaking finance and non-finance related risks that are brought about by rising fintech development.
In short, too much of something is never a good thing; just like consuming too much vitamins or supplements may be bad for our health. There is no perfect formula or system for investing in this world.
We should not forget that many market crashes like Black Monday in 1987 and the liquidity crunch in August 2007 are in part due to mechanical glitches.
About the Author
Dr Audrey Lim Li Chin is a lecturer and a researcher at Multimedia University (MMU) Melaka. She teaches International Finance and Derivatives. She is particularly interested in retirement planning, mental health, fintech especially in blockchain and data analytics. She is also a Certified Financial Planner, (CFP) and is currently pursuing Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification. She is also the external educational advisor to Max Wealth Education Sdn Bhd.
This article is in collaboration with Max Wealth Education Sdn Bhd, an approved Education Provider for the CFP Certification Program.
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