Driven by the preferences of millennial consumers, the fintech industry is expected to generate revenues of $500 billion in ten years based on research just published by UBS. This represents a growth of more than 3x over the $150 billion in revenues the industry generated in 2018, and shows fintech outpacing the revenue growth expectations of the overall financial sector.
The projections from UBS rely on more than just millennials – who represent 27% of the world’s population and own an estimated $24 trillion in wealth. The UBS report also suggested that blockchain technology will generate economic value of between $300 and $400 billion in multiple industries, with fintech and financial services being the biggest beneficiaries. In addition to automation, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies were recognized as playing key roles in enhancing areas ranging from trade finance and compliance to foreign exchange and insurance.
AI also will play a role in generating significant economic value for the fintech industry over the next decade, according to UBS. In addition to enhancing processes in fields like roboadvisory, insurance, and compliance, AI will help develop a growing array of ever-more-sophisticated, customer-facing applications such as virtual assistants and chatbots. Increased consumer interaction with these AI-enabled technologies could drive a customer experience/innovation loop that would keep adoption rates of these kinds of solutions high and growing. UBS featured data from its Semi-annual Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide (in collaboration with IDC) which indicated that spending on AI technology worldwide this year would reach $47 billion. Ten years ago, that spending total was less than a quarter of that amount at $11 billion.
The report also underscored the growth of the e-wallet industry, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where the area’s millennials have helped create a 66% penetration rate for the technology. This is double the rate in North America and an even more significant margin over trends in EMEA. Other areas in fintech highlighted in the UBS report were payments, insurtech, wealthtech, capital markets tech, and online lending.
Positive moves from regulators were cited as one of the more surprising sources of optimism for fintech revenues over the next ten years. The reasons vary widely, but include the public-private partnerships that characterize fintech development in the MENA regions, as well as pro-consumer compliance laws in Europe, the U.K, and North America that are driving innovation in often overlooked subsectors of fintech like regulatory technology (“regtech”). The rise of open banking and the proliferation of neo- and challenger banks are also ways that governments have and are likely to continue to create space for growth in fintech.