Alexei Kuzovkin on fintech. What can we expect from financial technology in 2020?

What can we expect from the fintech sector in 2020? It is obvious that the existing trends will carry on, and there is no reason to expect revolutionary change. On the other hand, gradual evolution can also bring about tangible change, even if it is not immediately apparent. The notion of "ecosystem" will probably be the key trend for the fintech sector in 2020.

Let's start with the banking sector. Listing all the new (and not so new) technology used in this industry could take a long time, but the key changes are not about the technology per se, but rather how various solutions are used and combined. For example, using Big Data and AI helps better target each and every individual borrower, cutting service time per customer, reducing risks for the bank and ensuring that customers get timely offers from the bank.

These solutions also help build ecosystems within the bank's digital services by integrating information and financial services from various providers. This leads to a new environment where using a service in one sector opens access to offerings in other sectors. The domino effect could be an effective way to describe this, if not for its destructive connotation. On the contrary, these are positive trends.

Banks make deals with various non-financial companies, or major non-banking corporations launch financial products. They all invariably rely on Big Data, but solely as a tool for ensuring seamless integration of various services through a single entry point (for example, a mobile app owned by the bank or a social network).

There is much talk right now about gamification and storytelling, which means using marketing tools in the banking sector, which has not been done before at such a scale. If this works, so be it.

We can expect investment in financial IT solutions to keep growing, primarily in the infosec segment. In fact, there is a lot to be done here: major bank groups can afford to spend billions on security for themselves and their clients, while SMEs lack these resources, but there is still a need to do this.

In this context, third-party security vendors offering solutions could become part of bank-related ecosystems, or the bank could take on the role of cybersecurity providers for the financial sector and the related industries. At the end of the day, it all depends on the capabilities of the banks.

Finally, there is the machine learning trend. We have now moved beyond speculation that this technology has been overhyped or that it did not live up to the promise of reassigning a substantial share of tasks from humans to robots. The question that has to be asked at this stage has to do with the limits of their use. It is obvious that machines cannot take over all actions or decisions, no matter how smart they are. There are also tasks where AI and machine learning are indispensable, especially with Big Data and risk analysis. After all, machines are merely tools. The current AI solutions have a long way to go before they become "independent thinkers." Still, they will continue to improve, at least in areas where they deliver the most promising results."