Global Fintech Survey Results: 51 Experts Reveal 2016 Trends

What are the trends expected to drive fintech innovation in 2016? I am happy to publish, on behalf of Envestnet® | Yodlee®, the results of the second annual Global Fintech Influencer Survey. Last year, we decided to ask 40 influencers what they thought of the fintech landscape of 2014, and collected their predictions for 2015. By the end of 2015, it was clear that the fintech industry had raced on beyond imagination! The amount of innovation and the sheer number of startups that came up in 2015 were astonishing. This year again, we attempt to capture the influencers’ thoughts on the highlights of 2015 and the predictions for 2016.

Who took the fintech survey?

We reached out to the fintech influencers from the Fintech 100 list. We also reached out to certain influencers who are not active on social media but whose feedback would be immensely valuable to the survey. We wanted to keep the target list as diverse as possible, and we reached out to people from all walks of fintech life, and from all geographies. The only region that we didn’t get responses from was Africa.  Some of the respondents were from traditional financial services firms including Santander, Capgemini, ING and American Express. The vast majority, however, constituted the challenger banking and fintech startup world. We had respondents with a high degree of interest in financial inclusion for the first time this year. There were several respondents who were industry influencers who did not identify themselves with a bank or a fintech firm who chose the Other category – something to fix for next year. 

Which fintech firms made an impact in 2015?

We asked the influencers which three startups made the biggest impact in 2015. Transferwise led the pack as the most mentioned fintech startup, followed by Lending Club, R3, Apple Pay and Funding Circle. This was, of course, the first time R3 came up in the survey results – and several new entrants featured heavily, including SoFi and Alipay. 18 firms were mentioned by 40 influencers last year; 71 firms were named by the 51 influencers this year. There were surprise new entrants like FCA (with 3 mentions), but the bulk of the mentions were for lending and payments startups, just like the year before. Oscar, the health insurance startup, was a notable entry for the economic impact it made in a very short time. 

What technologies from 2015 impressed the influencers?

The technology that made the biggest impact in 2015, according to the influencers surveyed, is Payments technology. Above a certain threshold of significance, technologies like Data & Analytics and Authentication & Security had an even bigger impact than Blockchain. There was a lot of discussion around Blockchain in 2015, especially from banks and European startups, and it is interesting that it did not make a deeper impact on the influencers’ minds. Very few people thought that financial inclusion and UI/UX technologies made an insignificant contribution; however their impact was overall considered neutral. Payments tech continues to be top of mind for the influencers - followed by security and lending. In 2014, the respondents predicted security technology will be the hottest sector in fintech, however, the sector continues to have a large gap between what is available and what is needed in the market, with a huge interest predicted to continue into 2016. I asked about Gamification and Capital Markets for the first time, and it seems the market is not quite ready for a huge impact in those yet.

What trends do you predict will be the highlight of 2016?

We asked a very open-ended question to get the influencers’ feedback on the predicted trends for 2016. A few highlights below. The most frequent comment was that there will be increased partnering between banks and fintech startups, i.e. between legacy players and fintech innovators. New entrants and growth in mobile payments, plus increasing regulatory compliance and partnership opportunities for lenders were mentioned by several respondents. 43% of the respondents thought Blockchain adoption by banks will be the single largest trend of 2016. Larger deal sizes, an increased geographical spread and capturing the unbanked market followed with almost an equal amount of interest as the key highlight for the coming year.

And the winner is…

The winner of this year’s $100 Apple® Store Gift Card is Sam Maule of Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group! He wins the prize from Envestnet | Yodlee for taking part in the Fintech Influencer Survey! We will be reaching out to deliver your prize.