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FinTech is here to stay and everyone from banks to technology giants and from governments to entrepreneurs is taking notice. Career opportunities in FinTech and related fields are ballooning, led by cyber security, payments, RegTech, robo-advisory, blockchain and so on. You can read more about in FinTech careers here and have a look at the best FinTech courses in this other article.
To succeed in the financial technology revolution, you need to understand:
- What drives it
- How it makes banking and finance more efficient
- How it impacts the cost of accessing funding
- How it democratizes the process of lending
- How it makes transactions safer and faster
- How it allows for the leveraging of data to get better insights into consumer behaviour and spending patterns
- How it changes the way we invest and the way we save
- How it can impact other industries all of which rely on mainstream finance
- What it means for governments and regulators
- What it means for SMEs and Fortune 500s alike and so on
This is but a small list of things that FinTech is impacting. If you are as excited about FinTech as I am, then this is the list of the best books on FinTech and the digital transformation of the banking and financial services industry. Happy reading!
1. Best for Digital Banking
This is probably the most insightful book on the future of banking. As someone with over a decade of banking experience myself, I was just amazed with the quality of this work and how King’s predictions seem to be spot on. This is story about how banks have been dealing with the tech revolutions and where the current trends are expected to lead.
This book hits the nail on the head when it comes to some of the innovations that banks and tech players are working on currently for the future of finance. It dives deep into how tech changes like AI, blockchain, big data, and even behavioural changes like consumer psychology are affecting mainstream finance. Banking is an industry that will radically transform itself and this is the book that tells you how. A great and insightful read.
2. Best for Small Business/ Entrepreneurs and financial firms catering to them
Small Businesses are the lifeblood of any economy and contribute enormously by providing local and stable jobs. However, due to their small size, small finance departments and relatively weaker balance sheets, they are often left out of the mainstream credit systems. This is a great opportunity for FinTech firms that can utilize their volume-centric approach to profitably cater to these small accounts. This is why I feel this is must read book for FinTech entrepreneurs and bankers alike.
This book chronicles the journey of financial innovation from the perspective of these small businesses. FinTech has enabled paperless and cheap approval/ disbursal of financial products and that has benefited these small businesses more than anyone else. It looks at the historical trends, current innovations and how the regulatory landscape is changing when it comes to small business finance. These are the innovations that our economy desperately needs right now and there is certainly a lot more to come!
3. Best for FinTech Entrepreneurs
This is the book to get for entrepreneurs. It has interviews from 75 FinTech entrepreneurs who talk about their journeys, challenges, mistakes etc. These entrepreneurs have together raised over $10 billion and you get to peek inside their heads. If you are someone who is interested in a starting a FinTech or joining one, then you would definitely be well served by reading what these folks have to say. Leverage their experience to better your own.
The fields covered include everything from banking and wealth management to insurance, payments and cryptocurrencies. The best part is that these companies are not giants but rather at a size that can actually benefit you if you are just starting out. If you are a FinTech entrepreneur, there is not better resource out there to get access to such a treasure trove of insights from right in the trenches!
4. Best for Blockchain/ Cryptocurrencies
If you intend to start a career in a filed related to blockchain or cryptocurrencies, this book should be your first step. It provides a neutral perspective about blockchain tech and its place in the broader financial services industry and society as a whole. It has been authored by product managers form tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft. They provide insights form a different angle – that of a BigTech firm looking at blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The book would also prove quite helpful for those trying to understand just how exactly does blockchain and cryptocurrencies work in the real world. I have written several articles on the subject but its not an easy thing to explain, which is why I appreciate what the authors have done with this one. It covers almost everything there is to know about the topic and I can’t recommend it enough.
5. Best for AI/ Machine Learning in Finance
This is another title that is not exclusively focused on the front-end aspects of FinTech. This instead is targeted at those who already have some programming experience and want to understand the actual technical aspects that go into implement machine learning for finance. Machine Learning is an in-demand skill and there is a significant shortage of talent. Anyone who can leverage this skill successfully, can expect a highly rewarding career in finance.
I cannot recommend this book enough to those on the development side of things in the financial services industry. Although even hardcore finance professionals would greatly benefit from the insights it provides. I would say it is best suited for quants or financial engineers or those interested in the things that quants do. It is not an easy read but it was still worth the effort for all the goodness it provides!
6. Best Book on the Platform Economy
Don’t be fooled by the absence of the word “FinTech” in the title. Banks are trying very hard to replicate the success of platforms like Google’s Play Store, Apple’s App Store etc. These platforms allow companies to benefit from the innovation of others that release products on their platform. Creating a platform like that can be so beneficial that companies like Microsoft started giving away Windows for free.
This is the platform economy and it is something that banks are pouring billions of dollars into each year. This book does into how such platforms can be monetizes, how they access their primary markets and what it takes to succeed with this model. It looks at the success factors for the platforms that made it and the reasons for failure for those that didn’t. Both perspectives are equally relevant.
7. Best for FinTech Law, Policy and Regulations
If you have any amount of experience in the financial services industry, you would probably agree that navigating the regulatory landscape is perhaps the hardest and most tedious thing to do. That has certainly been my experience. So when any opportunity comes along to simplify that process, I take it. This is one of the hardest things to master and any help you get, should be more than welcome.
This is probably the best resource out there currently for doing exactly that. EU, US and Asian governments are pumping out FinTech related regulations like there is no tomorrow (I advise my clients on navigating these regulations as a FinTech consultant). Your best bet is to literally read the actual text of each of the regulations (like I have to), but a well written book is just so much better.
8. Best for RegTech
RegTech is perhaps the hottest field within mainstream banking right now. Banks spend billions each year on compliance, transaction monitoring, KYC and anti-money laundering efforts, paying fines and so on. It can be a crippling expense and RegTech is the cure! Using advanced technology like AI, ML, big data etc., banks are hoping to drastically reduce their regulatory burden.
This is why you need to read this book. It looks at how AI,. ML and other technologies are drastically improving regulatory compliance. It looks at actual business use cases of RegTech and how the future is looking for the industry as a whole. There is a wealth of information here about an industry that is poised to rocket into the stratosphere.
9. Best for WealthTech and Wealth Managers
As the name suggests, this book is mostly focused on the WealthTech sector and how robo-advisors, direct-to-client applications, blockchain based systems and other low-cost threats are impacting the wealth management industry. This industry is definitely undergoing a tectonic shift and anyone that hopes to survive and thrive needs to get on board the WealthTech train.
The book is crowd sourced which means that experts in their respective fields have contributed articles based on their areas of expertise. This is an excellent format as it allows you more than one perspective into a topic is that still not mature enough to have a definite consensus. A good read for those in the private banking/ wealth management sector.
10. Best Book on Banking Disruption
This is the second book in the list by Brett King and its another well-deserved title. The book is in the format of interviews with experts in FinTech from around the world, so it offers a variety of different perspectives on the subject. What makes it unique is that it seems to capture that predatory approach that some FinTech firms are taking towards mainstream finance. Such insights are valuable from either side of the trenches.
It covers interesting subjects like the neo-banks, peer to peer lending, social media’s impact on finance, recent trends in consumer behaviour, financial inclusion, blockchain etc. These are the hot topics that are causing all the stir and deserve a deeper look. A well written book with useful information. What’s not to like?