Swinburne has launched Australia’s first postgraduate course in financial technology (FinTech) in response to the explosion in demand for qualifications in emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The Graduate Certificate and the Master of Financial Technologies will be offered as of 2019 and are targeted to those already working in the financial services and technology industries.
The Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) will deliver these courses. As with all AGSE Master degrees, substantial industry collaboration in course development and delivery will be important to the success of these FinTech offerings.
Director of the Master of Financial Technologies (FinTech), Associate Professor Mark Pickering, says the courses will provide graduates with an understanding of the major emerging technologies and how they affect products, services and business models across financial services industries.
“Students will learn creativity and design thinking and gain a strong understanding of how financial technology operates and the regulatory requirements,” he says.
“They will explore emerging technologies, including blockchain and cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence and application program interfaces and work on assignments utilising data analytics and machine learning.”
Australia behind Europe and the US
Associate Professor Pickering says while Swinburne is the first university in Australia to offer the course, FinTech related Master degrees are increasingly available across the US and Europe.
“FinTech is enabling financial service organisations to develop and target new offerings, change the way that they interact with customers and introduce more efficient processes. It is also leading to the emergence of new business models to compete with incumbent organisations and creating challenges for existing institutions to respond to these potential disrupters,” he says.
In 2017, the EY FinTech Australian Census reported that the number of FinTech companies in Australia had more than doubled in one year - from 250 in 2016 to almost 600 in 2017.
“The Australian Government has identified supporting growth in this area as an important priority to increase competition - particularly in the banking industry - but also for the economic benefits to the country of a thriving FinTech industry,” he says.
“The government is in the process of finalising an Open Banking regime - following the EU and the UK - requiring banks to share customers’ banking data, at the customer’s request, with third parties and has mandated comprehensive credit reporting.
“These will enable FinTech companies to better understand customer needs, to improve pricing of offerings for potential customers and to provide products/services, such as spending analysis and budgeting tools to help customers manage their money.”
Skills in high demand
He says the skills and knowledge being offered at Swinburne will be under high demand by finance industries, such as banking insurance, financial planning, superannuation and funds management. These skills and knowledge include:
- Knowledge of financial services markets, products and services, processes and regulatory requirements,
- Understanding of emerging technologies and their application.
- Entrepreneurial capabilities to either build new Fintech businesses or achieve change in large established organisations.
- Ability to combine the above to understand the strategic opportunities of emerging technologies in financial services and how to respond with new services and business models
“Changes in technology and the emergence of new competitors is both creating opportunities and putting pressure on incumbent companies, requiring them to build new skills,” Associate Professor Pickering says.
“In late 2017, National Australia Bank announced that they would be laying off 6,000 staff but appointing 2,000 new staff with Fintech related skills, such as data analytics and machine learning.”