For Schmid, working in the field finance is one of his greatest passions. He likes the industry due to its complexity, its economic importance, the fast-changing environment and the impact it may have on individuals. "I think the core idea of FinTech is to support the required innovation in Finance. Many services are still offered like it was 25 years ago. Further, most banks are still not scalable and suffer under FTE and IT costs. FinTech, among others, are environments where institutions might find some attractive solutions", says Schmid. Fintech is hard and it is not just about servicing the client. There is a lot of regulation, risks, and complexity. Maybe it is for this reason why Schmid explains, many FinTechs just offer very simple solutions which would not replace the finance industry. "I think majority went into rather non-complex business, such as payments for small amounts. I can meanwhile transfer almost for free money globally instantaneously and see it conveniently on my mobile. But would someone transfer e.g. USD 1 million over such a platform? Presumably not..... Further, I think traditional banks are sometimes underestimated by some Challengers. Of course, old banks have several legacies such as very old IT environment or low acceptance of changes but on the other hand, they have a lot of experience, data, methods, and processes how to run this business over decades. e.g. most peer-to-peer platforms has no capital or other protection for their clients. Therefore, retail clients investing into such platforms will presumably be hit hard in the next economic down circle since these platforms are in my view less accurate in measuring the different risks, take on loans which banks declined due to the inherent risks and they have no skin in the game like banks (i.e.no equity). I expect that regulators will soon intervene on such business models before again small investors pay the bill, e.g. by extending the MIFID regulation into such platforms", elucidates Schmid.
But Schmid has a plan to win: Disruption."I see endless opportunities in the FS market. The current asset management market has barely changed in the last 20 years but today, there is so much technological and methodological progress at hand which truly can make a difference for the clients, and the advisory/relationship manager", shares Schmid. Indeed there are great opportunities, huge potentials and steep obstacles to overcome. But if fintech entrepreneurs could maneuver through these challenges, the rewards would be brilliant. Industry leaders should thus have a deep understanding of the market. "They should have the ability to forecast client behavior and client demand; should be tech affine- understand possibilities and constraints of new technology, embrace it but with a certain degree of skeptics; and quant affine (e.g. machine learning etc.) to understand the power of modern quantitative possibilities. Especially in Finance, since all is about numbers. There is no taste, no design, no smell, just numbers", elaborates Schmid. But never forget, he adds, " corpore mens sana! One must make sure to perform and not just for 5+ years. So physical and mental health is important". Though it is not always easy to really disconnect, Schmid always spares time to be with his family and engage in recreation through different sports and vacations.
But who will win? The battle between fintechs and legacy financial services institutions will continue in this space. Schmid chuckles and says, "There is this saying that the economy doesn’t need banks, it needs banking. I always struggled with this statement because if you want to offer banking services as a non-bank, regulators will knock at the door and request the banking license. If any FinTech wants to truly offer banking services, a banking license and its regulatory framework will impose (for good) massive change to the business model and a FinTech must be to a certain extent managed like a bank e.g. on governance or capital- and risk management. I don’t think regulators will relax on those important regulations since the importance of banks or alike in the economy is too big. Hence, if there is a FS market in the future, there will be pure FinTechs, pure banks and some sort of combination of both".