Trends like blockchain, mobile wallets and robo advisers will become fundamental technologies. Although the United States is still leading the way, Europe is rapidly becoming a major force in the world of fintech startups. These are the 4 fintech trends across Europe that will underpin the beginnings of this cashless economy — and the jobs that go with it.

1. Blockchain

Imagine an online digital ledger where users make and verify transactions instantly on a network without a central authority. By moving to an impartial blockchain system, any party who needs access to the data can get it online, when and wherever they need it.

For a long time already, specialists predict that this blockchain will revolutonise the financial sector. However, the technology can be used in any sector that wants to secure the exchange of data. The France-based company Woleet offers blockchain services to track, for example, the provenance of pharmaceuticals to prevent counterfeiting.

"The blockchain technology can be applied in many sectors, including our own industry,” says Bart Klompenmaker, Executive Director of Michael Page Netherlands. “A good example is what a company like ChronoBank tries to do for the interim industry. They have set up a system in which working hours are converted into a kind of tokens that use blockchain. Time is basically converted into a type of currency that allows the parties involved (eg freelancers, interim professionals, clients) to do business directly. "

With blockchain technology, demand for relationship managers, wealth management advisers, finance and stock analysts will gradually transition to a greater demand for compliance, regulatory and finance policy specialists as well as accounting and tax professionals.

2. Robo advisers

Robo advisers are a type of automated investment service that manage stocks and bonds for you, at a fraction of the price that wealth or relationship managers typically charge. According to a recent report by KPMG, robo advice platfoms will manage 2 trillion euros worth of assets by 2020. There are a number of European companies that already offer these services, like Scalable in Germany and Austria, Truewealth in Switzerland, Yomoni in France and Easyvest in Belgium.

While a relationship manager at a private bank typically spends 2,500 to 6,500 euros on a variety of activities from wining and dining to win over a new customer, a robo adviser offers the same service at a fraction of the cost can work for you 24/7 regardless of time zone and is free of emotional or irrational bias. 

The growth of this industry will also lead to new job opportunities. Software engineers, mobile front and back-end developers, behavioural researchers and even cyber security professionals will be heavily in demand.

3. Mobile wallets

Banking is already shifting from online banking to mobile banking. According to research by Intelling, mobile wallet transactions in the European Union will grow 61.8 percent in the next four years. The Swedish mobile payments service Swish is already used by all the large banks in de Nordic countries. Start-ups like Kwixo and Buyster offer similar services in France. And multinationals like Apple, Google and Samsung have invested in the technology.

Bart Klompenmaker: "In the Netherlands, Adyen is, of course, the best example of a successful fintech start-up, but there are many other entrepreneurs trying to reform the financial sector. We hope to welcome them as a client soon. "

“The new technology will boost the number of job openings for IT-professionals, like software and mobile app developers, experience designers and big data analysts. But there will also be job opportunities for candidates with other professional backgrounds,” says Minh Truong, head of the Sales & Marketing division of Michael Page Belgium.

 He continues, “We recruited, for example, many candidates for Worldline, a company that develops solutions for digital payment. I´m sure we will have more of these sort of clients in the near future.”

 Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending, also known as P2P lending, matches lenders directly with borrowers. Since P2P lending companies offering these services operate entirely online, they can run with lower overheads and provide the service more cheaply than traditional financial institutions.  According to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, France, Germany and the Netherlands are the biggest markets for P2P lending, followed by Finland, Spain, Belgium and Italy.

Bart Klompenmaker: "In the Netherlands, you have start-ups like Jungo and Monefy. In general, these kind companies look for two "types" of candidates: IT professionals and professionals with a more generic profile, who used to work in the financial sector. The last category usually decided to leave their old companies, because they thought that the changes that were required, we carried out too slowly.”

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