Fintech Jobs

When Should A FinTech Hire A Banker
When Should A Fintech Hire A Banker?

“The Revolut Country CEO search took six months. The brief changed 4 times as the company grew from 700 to almost 2000 staff during this time. Customer numbers went from 4m to almost 10m. When a company is growing that fast in a highly regulated sector like Banking, it creates a lot of complexity, meaning hiring becomes complex.” 

dexter cousins – tier one people

Are You Startup Ready?

Often the “Fin” in Fintech would denote a heavy hitter from a bank being a winning hire, right?

In the fast paced environment of Fintech, we have noticed caution on the part of our clients in making such a decision.

The hesitation is bound in stereotypes. Banking is often viewed as a mired in red-tape, compliance (or lack of, in Australia), too many chiefs, too many meetings and nothing getting done. Huge amounts of resources and dollars are thrown at projects that never come to fruition. Whilst their Fintech competitors move with stealth and agility, innovating at much greater speed with minimal resources.

The role of an Executive Search Consultant is to challenge stereotypes and get clients to view each candidate on their merits. The view of not being a team player and rolling up your sleeves is often a misconception in banking, but there are plenty who refuse to conform to the stereotype of a banker. 

Tier One People is bolstering our position as the leading Australian Fintech Executive Search firm. Australia’s growing FinTech sector has seen a rise in the search for C-suite and leadership talent. Counting Revolut, TrueLayer, 10x, Klarna and Transferwise as some of the many companies seeking our assistance.

How bankers can take control of their job search.

A more proactive approach job seekers can take is to look at where your big banking skills can have an impact. Assessing whether a company is at start-up or scale up stage will also aid you in making a successful move to Fintech. Read this article on Fintech Career Advice to gain a better understanding at which stage of growth you are best suited to.

Before embarking on the search it is crucial to take a step back and ask yourself; 

“How would I cope moving from a structured and heavily supported environment to a one of a specialist generalist”

The best advice we can give candidates looking to join a Fintech. 

“Focus on impact. How many years you have worked somewhere doesn’t excite a founder, showing a founder how you can make/save the company millions of $$ does.”

Showcasing your skills in 2020 also requires more savvy than ever before. Looking good on paper doesn’t get cut through anymore. If you are in the market looking to join a Fintech you need to have a plan in place and a goal in sight. You need to utilise all of the tools available, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts. These are all channels where you get direct access to decision makers, people who can hire you.

You can showcase your skills and achievements, bringing them to life and not being blocked by gatekeepers and recruiters.

Do FinTech Need Banking Experience?

Dexter Cousins, the CEO and Founder of Tier One People, has interviewed more than 300 FinTech leaders on the subject of hiring. He firmly believes hirers should consider the lifecycle of a Fintech to assess where the best candidate fit is. 

It’s very difficult for anyone to move from a corporate job to an early stage startup. But with the rapid growth of tech companies, a startup can become an enterprise in 5 years. Examples include Stripe, Revolut and Australia’s Afterpay.

It’s a difficult process identifying the right time for a banker to join a Fintech. The right person can definitely make a significant contribution as the company scales. Often times the right hire is made but at the wrong time, which ultimately means the hire is wrong.

Find out just what skills you need in this exclusive interview with Eric Wilson, CEO of neo Bank Xinja.

We get inundated with calls on a daily basis from candidates seeking a move to the shiny new world of ‘FinTech’. However, opening your pitch with “hey, I’ve got 20 years experience in banking, I want to work in FinTech” might not be the best way to impress people. 

It’s also important to make the distinction between a Finance business and a Software business. Are bankers better suited to a NeoBank or a platform provider. Fintech covers a wide range of businesses and making this distinction can really increase your chances of securing a move.

Judo Bank, Xinja, 86 400 and Revolut in Australia have all hired highly experienced bankers early in their growth. Judo and Xinja are both founded by highly experienced bankers who were driven to change the industry.

FinTech’s are at the cutting edge of innovation with far fewer resources than any bank. The reality is no founder or investor gets excited by somebody with twenty years experience in banking, unless they can demonstrate previous success in a startup and they have skills currently not in the business which are mission critical to success. 

 

Dexter Cousins features alongside Aussie Fintech legend Joseph Healy of Judo Bank in this months FinTech Finance Magazine.

When Founders need help with hiring.

The recruitment process to join a Fintech can be almost as intense as the job itself. If you can’t handle the intensity of the interview process, it’s highly unlikely you will succeed in the job.

The thing to remember is that FinTech founders themselves may not have the breadth of experience in HR or Talent to make critical hiring decisions. Hiring for a startup is often a make or break decision. We’ve watched some companies flourish and others flounder because of it. 

For a founder looking to hire, specialist FinTech recruiters are more easily able to identify those candidates who are the ”right cultural fit.” Assessing if someone will relish the challenge of working in a FinTech environment is very difficult using traditional interview techniques. And a specialist recruiter can provide far greater access to Talent than an ad campaign and direct networks, especially in talent short markets. 

But to achieve these results a client needs to invite us ‘into the tent’.

The key to success is communication

Being attuned to the changing demands of the business is vital to ensure success when hiring. 

“The Revolut Country CEO search took six months. The brief changed 4 times as the company grew from 700 staff to almost 2000 during this time. Customer numbers went from 4m to almost 10m. When a company is growing that fast in a highly regulated sector like Fintech, it creates a lot of complexity. Hiring becomes even more complex.” commented Dexter Cousins.

There is a need for the modern executive search consultant to set realistic expectations with their clients. Being transparent and honest (even though clients may not want to hear what you have to say) is the only way to achieve lasting success. This approach is core to the values at Tier One People. The search for the “blue eyed unicorn” is never a realistic one and usually wastes significant time and business opportunities. 

FinTech Australia Talent Market Place
FinTech Australia Talent Market

In response to the rapid escalation of job losses across the Aussie Fintech community Tier One People and FinTech Australia have joined forces to build a Talent Market Place, connecting Fintechers directly to opportunities.

The Market Place is a Private LinkedIn Group where founders and hiring managers can advertise jobs, put out requests for skills and engage talent for contracting.

It is totally free to join for talent and hirers. The only stipulations are you’re FinTech Australia member or you’ve recently been made redundant from a Fintech firm (Australian residents only.)

Who is the group for?

Those who have recently lost their job and are in the Fintech industry.

What’s the purpose?

To keep talent in the industry and connect immediately available talent with Fintech leaders who can utilise their skills.

Who should join?

People from the Australian Fintech industry and out of work.
We will post daily content, videos and Live chat sessions sharing tips and advice on how to maximise your job hunting efforts. You can connect with hirers direct, no recruitment agencies involved. It’s also a great platform to showcase your skills!

FinTech Australia members looking to hire people.

You can post active roles, project work, consulting gigs and engage with talent direct in the group.

hiring tips fintech startup
How to scale a Fintech – Tips on hiring

Fintech founders know more than most, the damage caused by making the wrong hire. Especially when a company is in the earlier stages of growth.

Tier One People interviewed over 150 leaders in 2019 on how to scale a Fintech. We found less than 1% of founders have a background in HR/People. And only 10% of Fintech startups we interviewed have a dedicated HR/People professional in place.

It stands to reason that with no HR and hiring expertise, startups are at putting themselves at great risk when it comes to hiring, retention, performance and culture.

We have put together the best bits of advice from the 100 founder interviews to help you scale your Fintech startup and avoid the growing pains.

Plan before hiring.

It is a worrying fact that founders put way more thought, effort, planning and commitment into raising capital than hiring. The two are intertwined, without a great team you will struggle to raise the capital to grow.

A well thought out people strategy should be part of your business plan from day one. If you are promising to deliver cutting edge technology and don’t have the talent on board to deliver, you will fail your investors.

Our research shows three distinct phases of growth for a Fintech.

  • Startup: 1 – 49 People
  • Scaleup: 50 – 300 People
  • Blitz Scale: 300 People with global growth

Getting from 1 – 50 people can seem easy. But this is where all future growth and cultural problems are created. So it is essential to get phase one right if you plan to avoid the growing pains and scale effectively.

Each stage requires a different people strategy. But for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the Startup phase.

And if you are a startup, please don’t just copy the Netflix, Google, Amazon or Facebook strategy. These are some of the largest businesses in the world with unlimited resources, you are a startup.


Finding great people can be easy – hiring them is not.

If you are running a Fintech startup, finding the time to recruit yourself is tough and using recruitment companies is expensive. Technology and social media have made finding potential candidates a lot easier. The challenge lies in engaging, assessing and hiring the right people.

Think of potential hires as customers.

Why would a top performer be interested in working with you? What is unique about you and the business you are creating? Just as you have created a brand to attract the right customers, create a brand that attracts the right employees.

Develop a list of core values.

If you are the business owner/founder, honesty is critical for this process to work. It is important that you look at your values and behaviour, as they ultimately define the company culture.

‘The culture of any organisation is determined by the worst behaviour the CEO is prepared to tolerate, in themselves and others.’

Evan Wong, CEO of award winning Regtech startup Checkbox had this to say;

Culture has the biggest impact on retaining talent, especially if you’re a startup. If you’re a startup with a crap culture, then you are a crap business and a crap place to work. As founders you need to work out exactly what your culture is going to be. Get your vision, your purpose and your values set early days. The values of your company must flow from the values of the founders. I feel very strongly about this. When you are starting a business, the founders are the brand of the company. The founders are going to set the energy, the expectations and the culture of the company as well.

Similarly, the values of the company must reflect the values of the founders. Values we can demonstrate and action every day, values our customers and employees would also care about.

Read the full interview with Evan

Hire for your current business NOT the future.

A startup business is very different to a scaleup. At each step you require different people with different skills, expertise and experience. Often times the people required to build a business are not the same people required to grow the business.

Early employees will have a shorter life cycle with the business and that is natural. When things do turn bad is usually when people hang around too long because of loyalty. You need to plan how the business will grow and the skills, experience and people you need to deliver each growth stage.

In the early stages of growth it is often better to hire on skills over culture fit, especially in the short term when delivery is critical to the survival of the business.

Create opportunity descriptions – Not job descriptions.

The person you need to hire is likely to be in a great role already. Moving to a smaller business just to do the same job is not a compelling proposition.

A great way around this challenge is to create an opportunity NOT a job. Rather than creating a job description, listing daily tasks and responsibilities. Try creating an opportunity description, with a set of goals, targets and accomplishments to be achieved within a specific time-frame. For example:

– Within the first six months implement a new billing system with full integration of sales systems and no bugs or errors.

– Within the first 12 months have hired and groomed a potential successor into your role, enabling your advancement into a managerial position.

– Within 18 months have contributed to cost savings in the business of $100,000 by identifying outsourcing and automation opportunities.

Incentivising each milestone with bonus, equity or promotion will make the opportunity even more compelling.

Get absolutely clear on the type of person you want to hire.

You know what the new hire needs to accomplish. Now build a picture of the ideal person for the business. What qualities, behaviours and values will they demonstrate on a consistent basis? What characteristics are required to be a success in the business? What is the dynamic of the current team?

Contemplate where your new hire fits in the business 6 months, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years from now.

Use your networks.

Approximately 90% of Tier One People hires come via our networks. It costs nothing and candidates come pre-endorsed, massively reducing time and massively decreasing the risks of making the wrong hire.

Linkedin is an excellent platform to generate candidate leads. But posting “We’re Hiring. Looking for Rockstar developers” and expecting results is madness. It’s just lazy marketing.

Creating thought leadership content is the way forward. Our own content strategy generates 20 inbound enquiries per day from high-calibre, relevant talent.

Engaging your network via content is the way to go.

If you do decide to ask people for recommendations and referrals, the most effective way is to ask for their opinion.

Rather than ask

“Who is available?”

ask

“If you were looking to hire someone to help you do blank, who is the first person you would approach?”.

Ask your clients.

Everybody loves to help out a smaller business. Contact your clients and ask if they can recommend someone. You get an opportunity to call them about something and subtley advertise the fact you are growing and successful. Great PR and you may find your next hire.

Advertise fulfillment, not the job.

We use job boards as only one possible channel to attract talent. And it isn’t that effective for specialist roles and in demand talent. If you do decide to go down the job board route, the quality copy in your ad will determine your success. Most job ads suck because they just list a heap of responsibilities.

When writing the ad try to put yourself in a potential hires shoes. What would attract them to this opportunity and your business? Don’t advertise the job itself but the opportunity.

While most people will state that work/life balance, money, an equity stake, location, benefits, free bar or ping pong tables as attractions – the biggest attraction is the challenge or opportunity to make a difference.

Present potential hires with a compelling vision to create their legacy.

If you decide to advertise your opportunities on job boards, expect to receive lots of irrelevant applicants. It can be a lottery finding the right person using traditional advertising methods. However, by positioning your ad this way you will increase the chances of attracting the right person.

The blue eyed unicorn will not come looking for you.

It is highly likely you will need to proactively search if you want great people to join your startup. Tier One People is a Search business. We have to go out and find the right people and tap them on the shoulder. In many searches we may approach 100 people or more before we find the right match. Head Hunting is an art and there are certain steps you can follow that will make you more effective. Here are some of the basics:

Use a CRM tool.

Linkedin’s recruiterlite solution for AUS $150 per month may be a good option. But not everyone is an active user of Linkedin and responses to emails from the platform run at about a 10% hit rate (in my experience). You could use your current CRM or plain old Excel to track potential targets. There are loads of free cheap tools out there like Hubspot, Insightly, Zoho. The best tool we have found for hiring is JobAdder and costs around $150 per month per user.

Get creative with your searches.

Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, any social media platform is a good way to find potential candidates. A plain old google search can bring up some great results too. If you are looking for developers, start communicating with people on sites such as Github. Follow this simple philosophy, fish where the fish are.

Follow up religiously.

If someone responds to your direct approach, make sure you answer back.

What if you approach people direct and there is no response? Send a polite follow-up email three days later. The initial email usually gets a 1/10 hit rate; the follow-up gets a 3/10 hit rate.

Want a 100% hit rate? Go old school, call reception and speak to the person, they will be impressed.

Connect even if you are not hiring.

If you are a Fintech founder, you should always be recruiting. Events and conferences are a great way to meet people who could be future employees. Most people you reach out to won’t be interested in a move, that is just how it is. In some instances, it is just a matter of timing. If you do find great people, you MUST start building a relationship.

Consider it a dating processl. Reach out every three months or so, invite people to office functions, connect on Linkedin, ask them for advice in their specialist area. Make them feel wanted and special, and when the time is right, they will ask you for a job. If you meet people at networking events, don’t connect and forget.

Don’t interview candidates.

When you go out on dates do you go armed with a bunch of questions and start interrogating your date? Or do you start the conversation with the intent of establishing a connection?

Approach recruitment like dating, and you are likely to hire people who are far better suited to your business. The whole aim of the interview is to connect with people on a human level, not interrogate them.

There is research to prove interviews are one of the least effective ways to identify suitable talent. It turns out that the skills required to do well in an interview are often not the skills required to be a success in the job.

Businesses are literally hiring the best ‘story teller’ and then wondering where it all went wrong. I highly recommend reading Work Rules! By Laszlo Bock (HR director of Google.)

You should aim for three interview stages (if it is a permanent hire.) One of those stages should involve potential colleagues/peers, ideally in a social setting. The goal is to ensure that everyone feels comfortable with each other.

In my experience, a technical test, presentation or pitch relevant to the position is the best indicator of potential. Treat this stage as an audition for the job. It takes planning, but it is well worth the effort.

Always go with your gut feel.

The only evidence I can give to support this advice is that I have never met anyone who regretted going with their gut feel. However, I have met hundreds of people who have regretted going against it!

There is scientific data showing gut feel is our brain processing sensory data we are receiving from someone. What we are sensing is not congruent with what we are seeing. In other words, the person is telling us what we want to hear and isn’t necessarily sharing the full story.

Should I take references?

References provide limited insight into the potential success of a hire, unless you know the referee. A reference without context is useless, but a reference with context can be the difference between hiring a dud or a superstar.

If the references are not perfect, it may be that you need to have another discussion with the candidate. They could have concerns too, and it is better to give them a “get out of jail free card” so they can withdraw from the opportunity before it is too late.

And finally – If all else fails.

You could always contact Tier One People and ask for our help.

[email protected]

Fintech Career Tips
Fintech Career Advice

Fintech is soooooo hot right now and judging by the amount of enquiries we get at Tier One People, it feels like everyone wants to work in Fintech.

Fintech isn’t for everyone. Here are five questions we recommend asking yourself to find out if Fintech is for you.


1. Are you ready to join a Fintech Startup?

What is a startup? Everyone has their own definition. At Tier One People we have identified distinct phases of growth in a Fintech startup. It is important to make the distinctions as each phase is in effect a completely different business.

We have created some typical profiles to give context.

Startup Fintech.

Usually 1 – 50 people with minimal funding or bootstrapped (self-funded). Generating some revenue but not much. Likely to still be working out of a coworking space or innovation hub. The business is still at a volatile stage and uncertainty remains around long-term success.

Scaleup Fintech.

Typically 50 – 300 people big. Likely to be well funded or listed and generating significant revenue. Moving out of startup and starting to become an enterprise. A mix of the founding team and new hires coming from more corporate backgrounds. Potential to hit Unicorn status.

Blitz Scale Fintech.

300 people plus, going global and hiring at a huge rate. Now way past unicorn status. HUGE investors onboard. Examples Revolut, N26, Klarna, Afterpay.

The secret to success when joining a Fintech is to get on board when your skills and experience can make the most impact. When we do see hiring fail it’s usually not because the wrong person was hired. But the right person is hired at the wrong time.

Fintech Startup Hiring Tips

2. What is your risk profile?

Have a mortgage or family commitments? You may want to think about joining a business in blitz scale mode. There is likely a lot more security and a higher base salary can be offered with some ESOP. But you have probably missed out on the opportunity to become a millionaire!

Can you take one or two risks financially if the role doesn’t work out? Maybe you are not quite sure if you can adapt to the demands of a startup. Try a scale up.

If you are slightly bonkers, can handle flexible working ie working 24:7 thrive on uncertainty, fear, challenge and building a legacy while not getting paid much then a startup might be right for you.

3. What do you offer?

Most people think that Fintechs are one huge innovation lab where people ride round on skateboards dreaming up how to use blockchain to solve world hunger. 

In reality most Fintech are struggling just to stay alive. If you are dreaming of bringing killer ideas and strategising all day long, forget it.  Having ideas and making ideas happen are very different. In a Fintech you need to bring relevant skills to the table and demonstrate where you can execute on the vision with minimal resources.

4. Who do you know?

Most Fintechs started out by hiring mates or mates of mates. It stands to reason that when it is your business you want to hire people you can trust to deliver.

75% of the Tier One People network will find their next role through a direct contact. If you don’t have any friends in Fintech then you need to make some.

5. How much do you love Fintech?

I am constantly amazed by people who tell me they are passionate about Fintech, yet know nothing about the sector. At Tier One People we live and breath Fintech. But we have to work hard to keep building our profile and build our knowledge base. Meetups and industry events are a great way to get started if you need to gain knowledge and meet people.

Fintech is a tight knit community and you will find many members are quite accessible when you contribute to the community in a positive way. 

What Next?

Join the Tier One People Talent Community. It’s free to join and you’ll get access to exclusive content, videos, opportunities, events, interviews.


Anthony Quinn Arctic Intelligence
Anthony Quinn – Arctic Intelligence

Anthony Quinn is founder and CEO of Arctic Intelligence, one of Australia’s first Regtech startups. Anthony and the team have developed a platform that tackles the global problem of financial crime and money laundering. Dexter Cousins, CEO of Tier One People caught up with Anthony to talk about the journey so far.

Can you tell me more about Arctic Intelligence?

We specialise in audit risk and compliance software, predominantly in the final crime prevention space. One of our platform solutions is AML Accelerate, which is a cloud-based money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment platform, that caters to 30 different financial and non-financial industry sectors and contains an AML Program tailored to the laws of over 10 countries

We’ve got a very diverse client base on AML Accelerate including some larger financial institutions like Suncorp, CUA, TAL, smaller financial institutions like the challenger banks, Xinja, Volt and 86:400, digital currencies, money remitters, non-bank lenders, as well as non-financial sectors including lawyers, accountants, real-estate agents and various pubs and clubs.

We also have developed two other platforms, another Risk Assessment Platform that we are about to launch. It is aimed at sophisticated financial institutions, major corporations and professional services firms and is a risk agnostic, flexible and highly configurable platform. The risk framework, risk and controls assessment and methodology can be adjusted to suit any company.  

The other platform is Health Check which caters for regulated businesses and their professional advisers. The platform assesses the design and operational effectiveness of compliance programs through rigorous controls testing, which is used by clients like Deloitte on their engagements.

How did Arctic Intelligence get started?

I spent 20 years consulting to investment, and retail banks first in the UK. I moved to Australia in 2003 running a number of risk and compliance programs for different banks. Over the last 10 years I specialised in financial crime and was the program director running the AML and FATCA programme for Macquaries Banking and Financial Services Group. I developed a deep interest in solving the financial crime problem. Many of the challenges regulated businesses have in managing their risk and compliance obligations stem from the fact that many of these processes are manual.

So, I set about building a platform to make it easy for regulated businesses of all sizes, sectors and geographies to conduct financial crime risk assessments and build effective control frameworks to mitigate and manage their risks.

There was a huge gap in the market that no one was addressing. Money laundering risk assessments and AML programs have to be signed off by the board, with significant consequences for board directors and companies in the form of millions of dollars in civil penalties.

CBA’s $700m fine (which highlighted among many other things, deficiencies in product risk assessment), the royal commission into banking misconduct and the rise of the board executive accountability regime make it clear organisations can no longer rely on outdated spreadsheets to manage a very important risk category.

Arctic Intelligence started as a side hustle, like most startups do. For two years, I was developing the business while working four days a week with Macquarie. I personally funded the initial development of the platform, working with a development team to build an MVP. At the end of 2015, I finished up with Macquarie and went full time with Arctic Intelligence.

We were one of the first residents at Stone and Chalk. Then in August 2016, we won our first client, Deloitte, and then from there the business has just kept growing.  We’re 17 full-time staff at the moment, mostly based in Stone and Chalk but we do have a couple of people as Business Development Managers in Singapore and the UK.




How is the team structured?

First of all, as a startup we need people who are multi talented. But we are broadly split across three main areas. Our Chief Operating Officer, Darren Cade looks after our operations, client services, HR, finance and content management activities.

We’ve got a sales and marketing team led by Imelda Newton. Her team is responsible for winning new clients and building relationships with consulting firms of all sizes plus establishing and maintaining active reseller relationships.  

Then we have the product and technology team, headed by Nathan Zaetta our Chief Technology Officer and supported by a Head of Product, Tammy Goodman and Development Lead, David Stephen. They lead the requirements gathering and software development across our three platforms and manage the testing team which we’ve got in-house.

Under each of these teams we are supported by a very enthusiastic and high-performing team, as well as a very experienced Board, Advisory Group and Investor base.

What are the biggest challenges you have found in hiring people.

The challenges you face in being a startup, is that most people with experience would be mad to join in some ways. Myself and some of the people we’ve hired could earn a salary of over $400,000 at one of the banks. It’s a tough sell to entice people to leave that comfort and join a startup for 75% less than they are currently earning on a promise of changing the world!

So, you’ve got to have the right people with the right attitude. Most importantly, anyone you hire needs to clearly understand what they are letting themselves in for.  We hire people who are passionate about the vision and can see where the business will be in a few years time. But even that isn’t enough. The people we hire need to demonstrate how instrumental they can be in making the vision come to life. Startup businesses are pretty tough at the beginning.

Can-do attitude is important, You can’t be political or too precious in a startup. We are building a team of high performers. We have been very selective with the people we have hired . We are very lucky to have high calibre people on the team.

How do you hire high calibre people?

We’ve done a couple of investor rounds which were targeted to private investors. That process not only brought in funding but gave access to investor networks. That is how we have assembled an impressive board. We have the ex Chair of PWC Australia as Chairman, Neil Helm, the ex-CEO of OFX is a director. Our board and investor network are all very deeply experienced and well connected, so we leverage that whenever we can.

Arctic Intelligence were one of the first RegTechs in Australia. How far has the industry come since you launched?  

It’s funny. When we launched RegTech wasn’t even a term. The Regtech Association came together about 18 months ago. A small group of startups were out promoting the benefits of RegTech and highlighting the need for change. We really struggled initially to get momentum, primarily because the care factor of AML compliance was so low.

Fines and penalties for non compliance were very low, the biggest fine was $300,000. And the likelihood of a regulator taking a business to court was virtually non-existent. The big shift started when CBA were fined $700 million, and the Royal Commission into banking  misconduct. There is now a lot of demand for RegTech solutions.

Arctic Intelligence were one of the first nine founding members of the RegTech Association. It has been overwhelming how positive the association has been received and much of the credit should go to Deborah Young, the CEO for driving this forward. At the last conference in March 2019 we had 105 startup and corporate members and sponsors. So it’s definitely taken on a life of its own and the conversations are really starting to happen in major firms that may not have considered the value of regulatory technology.

There’s certainly a lot of good use cases and testimonials and some really good early adopters of the latest  technology. We have noticed a significant uptake in our business and see this continuing to gain momentum.

What is the opportunity for RegTech in Australia to compete globally?

I think what we’ve got going for us is that it is a small market, but it’s a very open environment. We have Tech hubs like Stone and Chalk, Tank Stream Labs, Fishburners etc fostering innovation in RegTech and FinTech. But we also have very open and engaged regulatory authorities such as AUSTRAC and ASIC. They are running regular update meetings and have developed an outreach programme to RegTech startups.

The regulators are now very open to RegTech and frankly I think they need it as much as the banks do. If you look at a regulator like AUSTRAC, they’ve got 300 staff to monitor 14,000 regulated businesses. This number will increase to approximately 85,000 businesses in 2020. Without technology it is not feasible that regulators can effectively regulate – they are resource constrained and losing the battle, they have to be smart about supporting technology innovation but also become adopters themselves. I offered our technology to one of the regulators for free, over 4 years ago but nobody has taken up this offer.

It’s a great eco-system where you’ve got regulators, regulatory bodies, professional services firms and tech providers collaborating together, challenging each other on the art of the possible. It is leading to rapid innovation and proving what can be achieved. Everyone is going on their own journey with RegTech, which gives us all a much deeper understanding of multiple perspectives.

I think this is the key reason why Australian RegTech seems to be standing out globally.

What are the future plans for Arctic Intelligence?

We are about to launch, another risk assessment platform, which is domain agnostic. So it can do much more than Anti Money Laundering. The new platform has multiple use cases including bribery, fraud, cyber, operational risk or any risk domain. It allows a lot more flexibility in terms of being able to introduce risk models or control frameworks, add relative weighting of risks and controls, changing methodologies.

We’ve developed a very flexible risk platform primarily aimed at sophisticated reporting entities like major banks. Believe it or not, most of the major banks we work with in Australia and overseas are still managing financial crime and AML risk assessments on spreadsheets. The platform takes the data in those spreadsheets and puts it into a robust risk assessment framework.

The platform is geared towards regulated businesses and the professional services community. Deloitte are white labelling our technology. We are in a beta test program, which is a global program with about 25 different stakeholders in the UK, Canada, the US, Southeast Asia and Australia.

What’s the end-game for Arctic Intelligence?

We feel like we’re at the bottom of the mountain, even though we’ve been going for quite some time. There’s a lot of growth potential for us in terms of growing into new markets, growing into new industry sectors and growing across our product ranges.

We think we’re just at the start and the sky’s the limit, so we are really pumped to get out there and make a difference. And ultimately it is about trying to do our bit to help solve the money laundering problem and the social impact that causes – violence on our streets, rampant ice addiction in Australian cities and country towns, increase in crime rates, domestic violence and broken families.

That is our higher purpose and the thing that really drives us.

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Busting Startup Hiring Myths

If you are a Fintech leader, you will probably agree that hiring great people can sometimes feel like an impossible task.

Since launching in 2016, Tier One People has interviewed hundreds of Fintech leaders. These frank discussions on the challenges of growing and scaling a startup sometimes can contradict the popular advice from Silicon Valley.  We have researched and analysed the hiring strategies of Google, Facebook, Netflix and other tech firms and see some major flaws in following the strategies for a startup in Australia.

Let’s bust some hiring myths.

Hire for culture fit.

Katherine McConnell is Founder and CEO of Brighte. She is recognised as the Outstanding FinTech leader in Australia and was named in the Top 10 most influential women in Fintech globally. Katherine had this to say about hiring on culture fit.

Today we’re able to attract great people because of the brand, our investors and the fact we are a solid business. But a year ago, no one had heard of Brighte.

Attracting great people to a start-up is very difficult. You don’t have much leverage. Hiring based on values is nice but not always possible. Now Brighte is established we absolutely recruit on values and cultural alignment.

Initially I hired people based on technical expertise. I had to take a gamble on whether the person would work out or not. We just had to build the platform and get it done. The advice I was given was ‘hire slow, fire fast’ but in a startup sometimes you have to hire fast and fire slow. As a leader you have to make tough decisions.


Hire based on proven experience.

Martin McCann Trade Ledger

Martin McCann is CEO and Cofounder of Trade Ledger, winner of FinTech Startup of the year 2019. Trade Ledger is rapidly scaling with offices in Sydney and London.

We don’t focus on people’s experience or their background, we focus on whether or not they would fit well with the team or will they be disruptive in the team. We prefer to hire people with high potential or high propensity for success.

What we’ve found is interesting. People who are under-experienced, properly motivated and show high potential are a much better fit for this organisation than people who’ve got proven experience.

People with high potential fit the way we work. They want to get ahead quickly, they appreciate the opportunity to be able to contribute and to learn. And they understand the value it creates for them as an asset that differentiates them in the market.


Create a culture where there is no fear of failure.

Vincent Turner is Founder of Uno Home Loans. He is a Fintech veteran now on his third startup. Vincent spent five years in Silicon Valley, setting up the Valleys first ever Fintech Meetup. Vincent had this to say about failure.

We are a consumer focused fintech, so our culture is driven by discovery and big ideas. You can conduct focus groups, give customers a prototype, let them observe it, but that customer will act differently when you ship the product. To get to something that works is an act of discovery

The team is encouraged to come up with extraordinary ideas and to test them out. Then we make a frank evaluation of what worked and what didn’t. We don’t talk about failure at uno. Failure is when you are reckless in the way you try things. But an experimentation-led culture, where you can call out what works and what doesn’t, is the absolute mainstay for any customer centric business.

Millenials are hard to motivate.

George Lucas is CEO of Raiz Invest and ASX listed investment platform that helps people save and invest automatically. The app has been a big hit with millenials and George applies the same approach to customers as he does managing his team.

Raiz has gained a lot of traction with Millennials, more than 900,000 people have downloaded the app and we are managing more than $250 million in funds.

We have developed a lot of loyalty within our customer base. Engagement is key and we are always listening to our customers. If you look at our product development releases to date, some examples being Raiz Kids, Raiz Rewards, My Finance and most recently Raiz Super, it has all been driven by our customers.

Maybe the difficulties other finance companies experience tapping into the Millennial market are self-inflicted? Let’s face it, Financial Services in Australia is heavily dominated by middle-aged men. We have seen several instances in the last twelve months where young people feel the people in power are out of touch with the modern world.

Rather than lecturing our customers on whether they should spend their money on Avo and Toast, we are providing them with the tools to save for a home deposit, or a holiday, or their kids school fees. Millennials are no different to any other customer. Just listen, give them what they need and treat them with respect.

We have adopted the same approach with our people who seem to enjoy the challenges of a FinTech startup. I listen and provide my team with the tools to do their job. Then I let them get on with it. Its a very laid back environment, we don’t manage people, no one comes in to work in a suit and tie, we’re not that type of financial services organisation. We have a mutual respect for each other. And I am learning so much from our people. It’s a very young business, most of our people are under the age of 30. And they seem to be laughing a lot, so they can’t be that unhappy!


Startups can’t compete for exceptional talent.

Alex Badran is Co-Founder of Spriggy, Fintech Startup of the year. By adopting a Lean Startup approach to hiring, Spriggy has managed to assemble a diverse group of highly talented people, while bootstrapping the business.

We have brilliant people in the team and a very eclectic mix of backgrounds. My co-founder is a physicist and an electrical engineer. Our CTO has been building apps ever since apps were around. Our CMO is a software engineer, one of our software engineers has a medical degree and our customer success lead used to be a geneticist.

We have managed to hire remarkably talented people who are great people, not just intelligent. They work hard, they care about what they do, they care about the people around them and they care about our customers.

This might sound simple, but talented people want to work with talented people who share the same values and ethics. That’s it. Sure, our people have flexibility, equity and all the advantages of working in a startup, but they are not the key motivators for joining.

Our people really buy into the Spriggy mission too. I love coming to work, and I learn so much from our team, every day. They are just amazing to be around. I am sure it will become harder to hire exceptional people as we scale, but right now, hiring talent isn’t a challenge for us.


So, what is the best approach to hiring for a startup?

We wish there were a rule-book for hiring, but every business is different. The one thing all of our interviews have in common? Each leader took their own course and made their own decisions. None followed ‘the Google way’ or ‘the Amazon way’.

Our advice is to go with your gut feel. Instead of focusing on finding the perfect match, focus on the business problem you are trying to solve. You may find there are alternative solutions to hiring. Or as we find in most instances with clients, the person you think you want is not the person you need to hire.

If you are in the process of hiring and want to get some advice contact Dexter or Joanne – [email protected]

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FinTech Talent Hot Spots in 2019

 

2019 is shaping up to be a HUGE year for FinTech in Australia. But where is all the FinTech Talent to help you grow your business?

Together with our partners, clients and good old market research we have compiled a list of the most in demand skills. FinTech startups can’t match the salaries of well capitalised businesses and often struggle to hire the talent they need. We have excluded startup data from our research and have focussed on companies with 50 plus people and capital in excess of $10m.

Sales Directors.

Banking and Financial Services Software companies have big plans in 2019. Established banks will look to defend their position as Australia goes Neo Bank crazy. Large international players now see Australia as a major strategic play as open banking puts Australia on the map for innovation.

New banks means new clients requiring core banking systems, lending platforms, security, CRM, Analytics. An endless list!

Sadly, there is a serious lack of sales talent out there. Expect to pay $180,000 as a base salary for anyone with 5 years-experience enterprise software/SaaS sales. But don’t expect too much in return for your money. Most sales people change companies every 12 – 18 months. In an environment where deals can take anywhere from 6 -18 months to complete, even at $180,000 you won’t get a deal closer.

If you are looking to grow your FinTech business by hiring someone who can close deals with Banks and Financial Institutions, expect to fork out $220,000 plus bonus, benefits and LTI, if you want to see results. Take a look at this advert as an example.

Head of Partnerships.

FinTech’s with a B2B or B2B2C model require Account Directors who can win new business and act as the link between the tech team and client. So, they created the Head of Partnerships role.

Part Business Development, part Account Management, to secure the best people for this type of role you are looking $180,000 – $200,000 plus bonuses/benefits.

As this is a fairly new role to the Australian market, talent from advertising and media agencies can often present the best skills match. Alternatively we find talent from the US and UK are accustomed to this model and will often make the best hires.

Chief Growth Officer.

Are the days of the CMO numbered, a slow death by 1000 (job) cuts? Marketing today is all about growth – ROI and the numbers don’t lie!

Sales and Marketing, especially in B2B models is returning back to its origins, one integrated and seamless function. The revenue generating engine room of the business. The challenge lies in finding people with a broad base of experience, that encompasses Product, Sales Pipeline, Digital Marketing, PR and Brand.

$225,000 plus super and bonuses is the starting point for a capable CGO who will deliver results. Expect to pay more depending on the size and scale of the role.

Senior Product Managers.

Judging by the feedback from clients and the market, it seems many FinTech’s are considering a pivot or growth into new markets. We have held a number of discussions over the last 90 days with clients looking for a similar profile. A Head of Product Development who can change Product teams focused on process ( and who seem convinced that applying Agile methodology solves everything) into product development teams shipping product that sells.

The right person typically comes from an engineering background. They break the mould by demonstrating commercial acumen/results and an ability to change the behaviours and beliefs of product teams.

Expect to pay anywhere from $180,000 plus benefits and bonus for this type of person. Our research suggests they will be in big demand 2019, no doubt the figure will rise.

Cyber Security.

As the challenger banks officially launch in 2019, the thing that keeps CEO’s awake at night (apart from trying to get a license) is security. Ironically, the best Cyber Security people I know don’t class themselves as Cyber Security specialists. They are risk experts.

If you are on the hunt for a Cyber Security specialist expect to pay big dollars. Or go to the source, Eastern Europe and hire the people who are your potential threat!

Developers and Engineers.

No change there, each year it gets harder. I heard Google recently paid an engineer in London a $3m salary. Expect to pay what you have to pay to get the right person. It is extreme, but we have plans underway to help the FinTech community access top development talent on reasonable salaries!

Data Science.

AI continues to be the buzzword of 2019. Will it follow the same path as Blockchain? Business leaders are beginning to recognise the limitations of Ai and the potential business issues it can cause.

Instead of replacing humans, the buzzword of 2019 will be ‘augmentation’ as we seek to automate mundane tasks. The emphasis will be on machine learning. Hardly ground breaking, we have been doing that in the workplace since the industrial revolution!

Still, a great data scientist will cost around $150,000 in 2019. And if you want a genuine AI/ML specialist, our research team is scouring the universities and colleges around the world.

Finally ….

If you want to change the game in 2019, you need to hire game changers. There is no work around! For practical advice on attracting and hiring the very best FinTech Talent contact Dexter Cousins

 

Fintech Talent Market Tier One People
Making a Career Move to FinTech

FinTech is one of the hottest employment sectors. With banking and financial services facing HUGE disruption and so many people on the job market, naturally there is increased competition any FinTech opportunities out there.

Lean Startup Approach To Job Hunting.

Current opportunities advertised with Tier One People receive 150 – 200 applications on average. How can you give yourself a competitive edge and ensure you are the one securing the dream move to FinTech?

2020 marks 21 years in the recruitment game for me. Over that period, I have given career advice to 25,000 plus people and helped thousands of people find a job. And I have developed a simple system that helps people accelerate the job search and maximise their career options.

The system in many ways follows the principles of Product/Market fit applied in Lean Startup methodology developed by Eric Ries. The distinction here is YOU are the PRODUCT/Service and a potential employer is the CUSTOMER.

 

Step 1. Start with ‘SO what and why should anyone care’

The most common mistake people make when thinking about any career move is who they FOCUS on. When contemplating the next step, we have been conditioned to ask questions such as

‘What am I looking for?’, ‘What will make me happy?’ ‘Where do I want to be in 5 years-time?’

A recent phenomenon, made popular by Simon Sinek is to ‘Start with Why’

I see a big issue with this line of questioning. NOBODY CARES about your why or what you want. Certainly not a FinTech founder putting everything on the line to make a business work. What they really care about is if you can solve their problems.

The first step, especially if you want to break into the FinTech sector is to ask yourself one simple question.

“What is the BIG problem I solve”

 

Step 2. Are You Solving A Real Problem?

This is a critical step. Because if you are solving problems FinTech’s don’t have or don’t care about you are in trouble.

Typically, people moving out of a large corporate will promote their expertise in Innovation or Transformation. These problems are prevalent in big banks, but not an issue in a FinTech startup.

The growing adoption of AI and rapid advancements in technology mean it’s very easy for our skills and expertise to become irrelevant. Especially to a FinTech at the leading edge of innovation.

Even if a FinTech needs your solution, will they use your service, or will they use someone else? There is a lot of competition out there. Are you as good as, if not better than your competitors?

If not, what areas need improvement to make your product the market leader?

 

Step 3. Define the benefits YOU bring.

In most instances’ businesses are experiencing one of three problems. Over the years we have come up with different terms, change, transformation, strategy, sales, product fit, disruption. But ultimately, most problems facing a FinTech founder can be distilled to the following:

REVENUE – Sales and Growth

SCALE – Problem Fixers

REVENUE and SCALE – Blue Eyed Unicorns

Ultimately your product (YOU) may have one or two benefits to a FinTech. You can demonstrate where you can GROW revenue and/or SCALE a business. Those who can demonstrate both are naturally in the greatest demand because they will have the most IMPACT on a business. A FinTech startup will ALWAYS hire the person they feel will make the greatest impact.

Watch This Video Presentation Where I Run Through The Principles Of Product Market Fit For Job Hunting.



Step 4. The VALUE CREATION exercise.

It surprises me how few people know or can estimate their value to a business. I often hear the term “Value Add” dropped in resumes and interviews. Yet when I ask how? I am met with a blank stare.

The Lean Startup talks about the Value Hypothesis Test which determines whether a product or service truly delivers value to customers. As you are the PRODUCT, I recommend a simple value creation exercise to determine the value you bring to a potential employer.

List your career achievements and attach a dollar value.

As an example, you may have automated a process, which resulted in a reduction of head count, saving costs. If you managed to reduce headcount by one and that person was on a salary of $100,000, over a five-year period, you have saved the business $500,000. In other words, you have created $500,000 worth of value.

Repeat this exercise for every notable contribution you have made to a business and total the amount.

You might be surprised how much value you can bring to a FinTech startup.

Discover your next challenge – Visit https://tieronepeople.com/jobs-in-fintech/

Step 5. Market Fit and Your Go to Market Strategy.

Most job seekers spend 100% of their time and energy with a go to market strategy that doesn’t fit the customer.

The typical job search mirrors a B2C marketing campaign. High volume, low touch.

You’ve applied to hundreds of jobs on line, you tick all the boxes, yet don’t even get a response. You meet multiple recruiters who said you were perfect for the job and you never hear back.

This high volume approach rarely works, especially when your are targeting the wrong person.

A job search should mirror a B2B marketing campaign, low volume, highly targeted with multiple touch points. You need to find a way to get in front of your customers and pitch your solution.

Evan Wong, CEO of Checkbox.ai (RegTech of the Year 2017 and 2018) has this advice:

I had to grow our network of Tier One clients from nothing. Coming straight out of University, I had no existing contacts or network in Corporate land.  So, I started out by creating a general profile of people I thought that would be interested in the product. Through a combination of research, Google searches, reading articles, blog posts and LinkedIn profiles I built a target list of ideal customers.

Next, I’d reach out by email asking to set up a short call for feedback, not to sell anything! Just feedback on the Checkbox value proposition. The discussion would usually be followed up a few months later with an in-person demonstration of the product. At the end asking for recommendations or referrals to other contacts in their network.

Today most of our business comes from word of mouth and thought leadership marketing. Being active at industry events and conferences helps our profile a lot.

Step 6. Pivot or Persevere.

Moving straight out of corporate and into a FinTech startup is tough. Especially in this market. You are likely to face lots of rejection. Does this mean you should give up on a move into FinTech?

Don’t despair, this is where you might want to PIVOT or change your strategy. Feedback from interviews and meetings with potential employers can help form the basis of your Pivot.

It may be you need experience in a smaller business before a FinTech startup is comfortable hiring you. A credit union, mutual, or smaller bank undergoing digital transformation can be a great stepping stone to a FinTech.

Could there be opportunities in your current employer that will help you build your skills and experience?

A corporate venture fund?

An acquisition of a fintech startup?

Maybe you just need to PERSEVERE. The key here is to immerse yourself in the FinTech ecosystem. It is what I call Proximity. The more people see you around the FinTech scene the more likely they are to offer you a job.

Go to FinTech meetups, attend events, keep in contact with Founders, post relevant content on Linkedin and Twitter, start following the people who have a profile, look for opportunities to help and connect people.

Follow these steps and before long you will find your Tribe, doing game changing work with amazing people.

Are you looking to move into FinTech? Our Bi-Weekly roundup brings the latest opportunities and market insights.

Daniel Foggo Ratesetter
Daniel Foggo RateSetter

If we are to compete with the large incumbents and other financial services businesses, and we want to continue to grow at the rate we’re growing, we need to be doing things better than what they’ve been done previously, all the time. It is a constant challenge to each member of our team.

Daniel Foggo – Ratesetter.

Daniel Foggo is CEO of RateSetter Australia and a true Fintech pioneer. He introduced Australia to the marketplace lending (or peer to peer) model back in 2014, paving the way for Fintech to go mainstream. RateSetter turns 4 in October so it seemed like the perfect time for Daniel to reflect on his journey. Read on in this enlightening interview with Dexter Cousins

 

For people who aren’t familiar with the marketplace lending model, can you explain how it works?

Daniel: RateSetter provides a marketplace, much like a lot of other disruptive businesses (Uber as an example.) We provide investors with access to strong, stable investment returns via investments into consumer loans. By connecting borrowers and investors together, we can cut out costs, improve efficiency and ultimately deliver better value to both sides of the market. In operating our platform, our primary objective is to ensure our investors get a good return and that there’s stability in the returns earned.

Our model is quite different to some other marketplace lenders, in that we provision for losses, to help support the stability of returns. For every loan funded, an amount is paid into our Provision Fund. Which helps protect investors from any borrower defaults. Our Provision Fund currently has about 6% of the value of our loan book in it, held in cash.

Our Provision Fund has meant that to date, our investors have received every cent of principle and interest they expected to receive. This fund is carefully managed to help ensure protection for our investors. Not just in the strong economic times we are experiencing now, but also in a sustained, stressed economic environment.

Providing a better deal all round.

On the other side of our marketplace, we provide borrowers with very attractive loans, whether they come directly to us or via an intermediary. We attract customers because we provide very good value. Our rates are up to around 8% lower than those typically offered by the large incumbents. We also provide a very convenient, easy service.

We are a true Fintech business. An equal mix of finance and technology people. Most Fintech’s tend very much to be one or the other. We must get credit and finance right. We must deliver the right financial outcomes for our retail investors, We must deliver for important commercial partners such as the Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Equally we need the right technology in place to perform our duties efficiently and to ensure our customers have an unrivalled experience when borrowing or investing with us.


How did RateSetter begin?

Daniel: I spent well over a decade in investment banking, latterly at Barclays Capital here in Australia. Lending money to businesses post the financial crisis was an arduous process. It didn’t seem to work very well for the bank or for the bank’s customer. Even if a loan was approved by our global credit committee, as a bank we were often lending money at a loss. For the bank to break even on lending deals, we would have to cross sell other products.

Customers were also paying high rates and fees for credit. Whilst it was hard for us to make money, it was equally hard for them to reconcile the spread between what they were earning on their deposits versus what they were paying on their loans.

It had also become clear to me the banking model had major systemic flaws. The original concept of a bank was to keep your money safe. But banks today are involved in high risk activities which put customer deposits at risk. As a society we manage those risks by ensuring a bank can withstand a one in a 50 or one in a 100-year event. So logically, we see many years where the bank model is unable to provide good value to customers. Then events repeatedly occur where taxpayers are required to bail out tough situations.

Redesigning a better financial system.

The Financial Crisis of 2008 really highlighted the issues I am talking about. Shortly after the Financial Crisis, I read in the Economist that if you were to redesign finance, you wouldn’t start with a bank. The implication was that you would have banks, but that there are other models that can serve both the borrower and the investor better, whilst supporting a more robust, more resilient financial system.

This thinking led me to look for an alternative to the bank model I was working in. I wanted to see a new model prosper, a model that could leverage technology and pass on better value to customers, and not have to lean, unfairly, on the tax payer for support.

Fintech in Australia is born.

So, in 2012 I resigned from my job at Barclays, flew my family to the UK and spent 3 months visiting lots of different businesses trying to find a model I thought would resonate with Australians. On my trip I met amongst other businesses, Funding Circle, (expected to IPO in the next fortnight with an approximate valuation of £1.5bn) and RateSetter. They were both very early stage and had both funded less than £20 million in loans.

Once I explained the bank spreads in the Australia market, it was clear to them that there was a significant opportunity for a marketplace lending model in Australia. The spreads were just so much wider in Australia than in the UK. I very quickly made the decision that the RateSetter model, in particular, could prosper in Australia. I flew back here to assess the market opportunity – really to see if I could uncover any reasons why the model might not work here. A month later I returned to the UK and signed a partnership agreement with RateSetter.

It’s been a very successful partnership, they’ve been extremely supportive in building our Australian business, especially as we went through the process of gaining our regulatory licences from ASIC.

How did you get the Australian business off the ground?

Daniel: The initial years were not the most enjoyable years of my life! I spent just under two years going through the licensing process. We started in late 2012 and the term “Fintech” in the submissions probably caused confusion, as it wasn’t a term in Australia at that stage.

ASIC took the time to understand our offering. With the RateSetter model working very well in the UK, we were fortunate in that we could point to it as an example of success.

Political support for our model in the UK and in Australia also helped. There was an increasing awareness politically, and maybe with regulators, that something needed to be done to increase the diversity of our financial system. We couldn’t just have a reliance on one model, being a bank model, but rather needed various models that work together. I think we had some success in explaining that marketplace lending could be part of the solution.

Finally, in October 2014 we had the relevant licenses in place and launched the business.


 Need to hire TOP talent? Get in touch.


 

As one of the pioneers of Fintech in Australia, what are your views on the opportunities for the industry.

Daniel: The Royal Commission, Open Banking and Comprehensive Credit Reporting are creating significant structural changes in consumer finance. These changes, in turn, are creating opportunities for Fintech business like we have never seen before.

Maybe the most significant structural change is the shift in trust. We are moving into a world where large financial institutions, who may have prided themselves on having consumer’s trust, are quickly finding it’s being eroded. Conversely technology-led businesses are typically doing a very good job of building customer trust.

Clearly in finance it is especially important to earn a customer’s trust, although it can take much longer to earn than in some other industries. Fintech business do have a few tools in their tool box to help of course, such as by providing high levels of transparency and control to their customers.

What is the long-term strategy for RateSetter?

Daniel: We are building an enduring business. There is a perception a tech start-up will become successful overnight. Seek and Carsales.com (a shareholder of RateSetter) are both examples of businesses which listed to great fanfare and are subsequently very successful businesses. What a lot of people don’t know is it took each over 10 years to get to IPO.

From day one at RateSetter we’ve always had a very long view in mind.

This is a multi-decade opportunity to build a model that becomes a significant part of our financial system. To achieve our potential, we want to achieve it in a relatively low risk way, which means very considered growth, which is broadly consistent every month.

Although our approach to growth is conservative, that doesn’t mean we are not growing rapidly, and that there’s not a huge runway for future growth. Our leading volumes are consistently about 100% ahead of where they were a year ago. And we expect to sustain this level of growth for many years to come. We currently fund around $25 million of loans each month. At our current growth rate, within 2 years we will be close to matching a big four bank in terms of the value of amortizing non-mortgage consumer loans funded each month.

What are the secrets of RateSetter’s success to date?

Daniel: Long term success comes down to putting the building blocks in place. The first building block – of course – has been to recruit the right people. We have attracted great people, generally because they have quickly understood that by offering better value to our customers and diversifying our financial system, we are in fact providing a ‘social good’. There is certainly also something very democratic about our business model, in that we are providing everyday Australians with access to an asset class which was previously more or less the exclusive domain of sophisticated investors.

Of the first six people in the business, five are still here and the one person who departed is still involved. I am proud of our team, and the fact that our core senior team have a very consistent view about the purpose of our business and where we want to go.

We now have a team of about 90 people, and our team continues to expand rapidly. Everyone in the business is very focused on making sure we deliver on our vision. The challenge of course is ensuring this focus remains as our team grows, not just in number, but geographically.

The next building block is technology.

We work daily to ensure our technology is best in class. We’ve built a fantastic platform from which we can keep growing. The stability of the platform enables the business to grow at scale without problems. We also perform exceptionally well in terms of credit performance because of the quality of our credit data.

The final building block is investors.

Getting the right equity investors on board has been critical to our success. It has been a very conscious decision to look for investors who can contribute not just money but who can contribute more broadly to the success of the business. Pleasingly all investors on our register have contributed to the success of the business in one way or another.

Our management team and related entities, which have delivered our plans, own nearly half of the company. RateSetter UK obviously gave us a foot up and remain very supportive. Carsales and its subsidiary Stratton Finance have helped us break into the loan broker and automotive lending markets. Five V Capital, our financial investor, has a lot of experience with high growth businesses and has shared their expertise in scaling businesses. Then there are private investors who have helped us in various ways

What people challenges have you faced as the business moves from start-up to enterprise?

Daniel:As we continue to add more people the challenges keep evolving. We’ve been quite lucky, in that our culture has remained consistent. This mostly comes down to the way we recruit people. One of the most important questions for us in recruiting is how a new hire will fit from a cultural perspective, especially whether a candidate understands and buys into our purpose.

In keeping with this philosophy, we have sought to avoid having layers of middle management and to give people flexibility. However, we are a regulated business with significant responsibilities, so you do need to have the right controls and compliance measures in place.

If we are to compete with the large incumbents and other financial services businesses, and we want to continue to grow at the rate we’re growing, we need to be doing things better than what they’ve been done previously, all the time. It is a constant challenge to each member of our team.

How would you describe the culture at RateSetter?

Daniel: The person at the helm is perhaps the worst person to articulate company culture and values, as you can often take your own values and behaviours for granted.

I’ve always sought to foster a culture where people are given a lot of autonomy, can take responsibility for their part of the business and are accountable for their – and where relevant – their team’s performance. Everyone in the business has a responsibility to constantly keep evolving and improving.

I believe we have created a respectful culture across the business. We all do the best we can for the customer and for each other. The customer is always front of mind.

Out of everything you’ve achieved so far, what has been the most rewarding part of the journey?

Daniel: Every milestone is rewarding. When we were granted our licenses, it was extremely satisfying after so much time and effort. When we funded our first million dollars, it was exciting as we felt we’d proven the model and the platform works. When we funded $100m, we were delighted to be proving to ourselves that we were successfully building a sustainable business, in the way we promised our customers we would.

Maybe that’s it. Delivering on the promise. That is the most rewarding part of the journey.

But really I still feel like the journey is just beginning. I guess that’s the privilege of starting a business that challenges the status quo in such a large part of the economy.

Australia's OpenBanking Revolution Blog
Australia’s Open Banking Revolution

When Will Australia’s Open Banking Revolution Begin?

With Open Banking reforms set for July 2019 we have seen the launch two new Digital Banks in Australia, 86 400 and UP Bank. Cuscal backed 86 400   has serious funding and weight behind it with Anthony Thomson, founder of Atom Bank in the UK, as Chair for the bank.

86 400 is still to receive a full banking license and hopes to launch it’s first products early next year. The executive team is in place, in execution mode and there is significant hiring behind the scenes.

UP, backed by Bendigo Bank has quietly entered the market place with  prepaid card offering. The UX is super slick with an account set up in minutes via the app. The card is beautifully designed and the app itself let’s you track your spending on the card. It is an encouraging start.

Judo Capital announced the second-largest fundraising round in Australian start-up history and expects their full banking license by the end of 2018.

Xinja meanwhile recently held their first AGM and announced series C capital raise valuing the business at AUS $95m. With regulators yet to grant Xinja a restricted banking license the raise is conditional on securing a license.

We are hearing that Neo Banks are turning capital away, significant amounts. Australian consumers and investors are raring to go.

Volt Bank, the only licensed Neo Bank in Australia is quietly going about their business. There is significant hiring with the business now over 70 people strong. Most hiring is on the development side but as yet, the mobile app has not been released. Volt Bank Deputy CEO Luke Bunbury was speaking at Mumbrella recently talking about distrust of banks. And he is 100% on the money.

Everybody wants Neo Banks

Recruiters are having a hard time right now trying to convince top talent to join the big 4 banks. And top talent of the big 4 banks and financial institutions seem eager to move on. The enquiries are so great in numbers that we are actually having to turn candidates away from large financial institutions. While we would love to help, the career transition from large corporate to startup is difficult with many people failing to make the leap. And many people in banks offer a very narrow skill set. When you consider CBA has 40,000 staff a Neo Bank will only need 400 staff. So it doesn’t look pretty for career bankers, especially the support staff in operations, finance etc.

Despite the high risk involved and the fact that even the licensed Neobanks in Australia are yet to offer a single product, top talent are showing a strong desire to switch.

Peers in the UK are witnessing a similar trend. Contacts at the Global Search firms in London tell me it is a real struggle to fill the top banking jobs. Executives would prefer to join a Fintech where the regulatory sandbox is making life easier, the rewards greater and the opportunity to build and drive change in the industry fulfilling.

What is holding Australia back?

Asian Investment in Fintech has increased significantly in the past 12 months and the UK is 5 years ahead of where Australia is now. Despite the efforts of UP, Judo, Xinja, Volt, 86400, Qwid and Douugh, Australians have the choice of one product, a prepaid card. In contrast, ANT Financial in China has a 30 day Go To Market turnaround for new products. It raised US $14bn earlier this year.

Who is to blame for the lack of progress?

The Royal Commission appears to be making life for new entrants super tough and the stance of regulators is clearly stunting innovation and progress. While third world countries advance at a rapid rate, it appears the only ship not rising with the tide is Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Hon Scott Morrison MP gave an impressive and encouraging speech at the Annual Fintech Awards dinner in Sydney recently. He made it explicitly clear the Open Banking programme is a priority with the Government relying on the Fintech industry “not to stuff it up”. If successful, Open Banking will be used as the template for all future Australian innovation. Scott Morrison has put a flag in the sand with Australia’s Open Banking initiative set to go live 1st July 2019. He seems personally and politically invested in Open Banking, he can’t afford for it to be his NBN!

But July 2019 is only 11 months away!

How much time and energy are we seeing wasted at innovation hubs, conferences and meetups? Are we guilty of confusing motion with progress?

(Read this great opinion piece, “ecosystem is not a safe word” by one of my favourite commentators on Fintech, Leda Glyptis)

The regulatory sandbox seems to be filled with quicksand. How many Fintech startups are spending time, energy and precious resources pandering to regulators? Waiting months for a response, only to be asked to fill out more forms, answer more questions, when a 30 minute meeting could quickly resolve any minor queries halting progress.

Quietly, small businesses and start up founders are being driven to despair (and often out of business) while corporate, government and regulators appear more interested in perception than progress.

I am convinced Australia has the talent, ideas, capital and capability to be the leading Fintech innovation hub.

So what are the regulators waiting for? Would more progress be made if the spotlight was put on ASIC and APRA?

Check out Our latest Fintech jobs

Australian FinTech partners with Tier One People

As the demand for top Fintech talent increases in, we are delighted to announce our official partnership with Australian Fintech.

When speaking to FinTech founders and CEO’s, recruiting the best people continues to be a major challenge. In 2017 Tier One People began collaborating with Australian FinTech to help the FinTech community find high quality and relevant candidates.

We see our long-term partnership as a big step towards tackling the talent shortage facing Australian FinTech companies.

Addressing FinTechs talent shortage

Tier One People are the experts at recruiting top FinTech talent across C-Suite, Sales, Tech, Finance, Risk and Operations. And since launching in 2016, we have fast become the recruitment partner of choice for some of Australia’s fastest growing companies.

The Tier One People service model is tailor made for the FinTech industry; with a focus on speed to hire, quality candidates, long term partnerships and flexible pricing that caters for start-up budgets.

The team at Tier One People recognise that FinTech’s require entrepreneurial, results-driven specialists. People who can turn start-ups into enterprises. And we have developed  unique approach to recruitment that helps clients assess which candidates can achieve the required results.

Australian FinTech and Tier One People plan to utilise this new partnership to provide FinTech’s with a ‘one stop shop’ for hiring top talent.

Australian FinTech CEO and Co-Founder Cameron Dart said.

‘The partnership between Australian FinTech Jobs and Tier One People gives our clients another option, should their own efforts to hire prove unsuccessful. This can sometimes be the case for specialist roles. So, it made sense to partner with a specialist FinTech recruiter. Tier One People were one of the platforms first clients. And as our relationship has developed it’s clear we share similar values around integrity, building long term relationships and making a positive contribution to the Australian FinTech community. And we are both totally committed to helping our clients hire the best FinTech talent’.

Tier One People CEO, Dexter Cousins added.

‘Together, with Australian FinTech Jobs, we believe we can help FinTech’s overcome their hiring challenges. When the team at Australian FinTech launched the jobs platform in August 2017, Tier One People were one of the first to advertise.’

‘We continue to be impressed by the quality of candidates the platform attracts. Some of our clients advertise on the platform themselves but when they can’t hire direct they come to us. Finding and then hiring specialist talent is full-time work and most FinTech’s struggle to dedicate the required resources. When a hiring process stalls it can hold back business growth.’

To find out how Tier One People can help your business contact [email protected]

Together, we can build the companies of the future.

Executive FinTech Jobs

Executive FinTech jobs in the the pipeline for Q2

It has been a busy couple of weeks networking with VC partners, private equity managers and founders. And there appears to be an increase in executive Fintech jobs across the board.

The companies whom appear to have real momentum sit across artificial intelligence, payments technology, insurtech and regtech. The FinTech space is going strong, but the highest growth is coming from less mature segments.

At this stage, we are mainly receiving Sydney based enquiries. Melbourne and Asian based opportunities may come live towards the end of Q2.

The discussions on talent have all been very similar with a clear need across three areas.

HR – TECH – FINANCE

HR Consultants

We expect at least 3 clients in scale up mode will require the services of senior HR specialists:

  • Org redesign, talent benchmarking and workforce planning.
  • HR health checks.
  • Performance frameworks, L&D and recruitment strategies.
  • Culture, values and executive coaching.
  • The assignments could be anything from a few weeks to long term, part time gigs.

 

Chief Technology Officer

Our client is a late stage startup in the payments space gaining momentum. About to secure funding and recently entered into a partnership with a major distribution partner:

  • Build and lead a top development team.
  • Drive product development strategy.
  • Support the CEO in growing the business.
  • Skin in the game before series B funding.
  • The role would best suit a software engineer/developer who is entrepreneurial.

 

Chief Financial Officer

A VC client is on the lookout for CFOs to support two portfolio businesses in scale up mode. Both businesses operate in the data and artificial intelligence space.

  • Build an enterprise class finance function.
  • Support the CEO with strategy.
  • Ensure financial integrity.
  • Raise capital.
  • Must have previous running an IPO – it is a deal breaker.
  • The role would best suit a diverse CFO with startup and corporate experience.

 

Check out Our latest Fintech jobs

Sydney Fintech Jobs
Sydney Fintech jobs update

Sydney Fintech Jobs

At Tier One People, we get to work with some amazing startups in Fintech and Insuretech. January has got off to a flier, so here is the first Tier One People Sydney FinTech jobs update of 2018.

There is an air of optimism that Fintechs will be a success. But the two challenges facing every FinTech and InsurTech? Funding and hiring great people.

The funding issue may no longer be an issue. Last week saw Australia’s first ever crowdfunding equity raise. The raising for Xinja (Australia’s first NeoBank) was carried out by Equitise. AUS$500,000 was raised in one day and everyday Australians (like me) have been given the opportunity to be an early stage investor in what promises to be a super exciting venture.

Congratulations to Eric Wilson and Van Le of Xinja and Chris Gilbert of Equitise.

Where are all the talented people?

Last month I had meetings with CEOs, CROs, CMOs, CTOs, CFOs and COOs. Each of them described similar people challenges – namely, hiring people who can get results in a VUCA environment with limited resources. Interestingly only CTOs mentioned technical skills as their biggest problem (even then they can outsource). As one CEO put it, ‘I need people who are prepared to work seven days and can get sh!t done.’

It is clear that the education system and corporate structures are failing to prepare people for the new demands of the startup/high growth business model. If you are serious about a career in Fintech, then you need to master the art of ‘getting sh!t done’. Despite what you read in the press, startups are not all about free yoga, beanbags and as much alcohol as you can drink.

Thinking about a move to Fintech? Tier One People are running a free event in February for those looking to make the switch. Contact [email protected] for details.

In-demand talent of 2018

Finance

There has been a push recently to hire Financial Controllers and CFO’s within the Fintech space. With companies growing to enterprise level in record time (Uber started in 2009 and is now valued at $70bn), startups are recognising the need to invest in enterprise-ready infrastructure and finance functions.

Several of the mandates I have received in the past few months have been with companies less than two years old.

Risk

A big year for risk in 2018. Valuations Actuaries, Cyber Security and Regulatory Compliance people in hot demand.

Tech

No change here.

Full stack developers – Yaaaawwn.

Machine learning, Data Science and Analytics still in huge demand.

Blockchain – Expect to see a raft of specialist recruiters in Blockchain.

C Suite

The interim C Suite market is going strong. Have you ever considered utilising CXO services on a ‘pay as you go’ plan for instance?

If you are looking to grow your Fintech and need specific expertise, for events such as an IPO, acquisition or rapid growth, hiring the person you need is cost prohibitive. Tier One People connect Gig Execs to our Fintech and Insurtech clients. A Gig Exec is a highly experienced executive with specialist experience for specific business events. Readily available for short-term assignments, this is a highly cost-effective solution for FinTech founders requiring executive level support.

Sales

It turns out that making revenue from SaaS and platform solutions is rather difficult, especially if you are relying solely on PR and a digital sales strategy. Tier One People are seeing an increase in demand for Sales Directors and Business Development Managers.

Interestingly the ideal candidate is someone with broad experience in product, distribution and sales. Relationship building and strategic selling are an absolute must. Certainly no used car salesman! It seems the mantra ‘People buy people’ is truer than ever.

 

Finding great FinTech people is hard

A great initiative by Cameron Dart and Australian FinTech Jobs, a specialist jobs board for Fintech positions.  We have used the platform for several positions and the quality and relevance of candidates gets high ratings from Tier One People.

We always say to our clients hire yourself if you can and when you can’t come to us. 

Australian FinTech Jobs is generating better results for Tier One People than SEEK (and is a lot cheaper too.) If you are planning to hire direct, I recommend giving the platform a go.

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Matt Baxby Revolut CEO

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