Interview Finhay CEO: Nursing Fintech talent should be a top priority

Assessing that the scarcity of human resources in the Fintech field is a big challenge for Vietnam, Finhay CEO Nghiem Xuan Huy believes that training and nurturing talents should be a top priority. 

CEO Finhay Nghiem Xuan Huy

In recent years, the financial technology (Fintech) sector has changed the face of the financial system, facilitating business and consumer transactions. Although considered as one of the main pillars of the digital economy development strategy, the development of Fintech is still a difficult problem.

In order to better identify the Fintech model as well as the opportunities and challenges of this field, Financial Investment Magazine had an interview with one of the Fintechs that is considered quite successful in Vietnam today. That’s Finhay.

– In recent years, Fintech in Vietnam has made very strong developments in terms of quantity, diversity in products and services and attracting investment capital, how do you evaluate the Fintech market? in Vietnam today?

Although Fintech is a new field, there have been strong developments in the Vietnamese market in recent years. If in the early stages, Fintech in Vietnam mainly developed in the field of e-wallets, by 2020, especially in 2021, the new market will witness a strong growth in both quantity and quality of companies. Fintech startups in this field.

More and more new Fintech companies are born operating in fields other than payments such as lending, investment… Finhay is a typical example of that trend. We established Finhay in 2017 with the mission of upgrading and improving individual investors’ thinking about the financial market in Vietnam and the region towards professionalism and technology. Last year, we also succeeded in buying and owning the entire Vina Securities Company (VNSC) in order to improve service quality and gradually provide securities services from VNSC.

– Also a famous Fintech in Vietnam, from Finhay’s perspective, how do you evaluate the opportunities of Fintech today?

I realize that the Vietnamese market has many favorable factors for Fintech to develop. Firstly, the average age of the Vietnamese population is in the potential target group of Fintech. Specifically, Vietnam’s population has an average age of 32.5 years (also the most active consumption age). 98% of the adult population in Vietnam has a mobile phone and 73% of the population has regular internet access. The above figures show that the market share is fertile for Fintech to grow.

The average age also reflects the habits and receptiveness to new trends of Vietnamese people, especially young people. Today’s young Vietnamese are exposed to technology from an early age, along with the impact of the integrated economy, Vietnamese people have gradually become more open to modern financial solutions with the application of technology.

Along with that, the Vietnamese people are having a fairly stable financial development, GDP per capita in 2022 is at 4,100 USD, equivalent to Indonesia and the Philippines.

Second, Vietnamese people are paying more attention to personal finance. If in the past, saving money was the method used by most Vietnamese to store money, now, Vietnamese people are more interested in other personal financial solutions such as stock investment, accumulation, virtual money…

In 2022, 5% of Vietnam’s population has a securities account. This number is expected to increase further in the coming years. This reflects the growing trend of investment and interest in personal finance of Vietnamese people.

Third, the Vietnamese Government is very interested and creates many conditions to support Fintech development. Many financial and Fintech projects are being heated such as creating an open banking framework (Open Banking), data protection (Data Protection), network security roadmap/strategy (Cyber ​​Security Roadmap/Strategy), strategy country on financial inclusion… In which, Sandbox is also in the process of being consulted.

All three factors above, in my opinion, will open up great opportunities for the new but exciting Fintech market in Vietnam.

– With the advantage, there are certainly challenges, can you share about the challenges that Fintech is facing? What do you think is the most difficult problem today?

In my opinion, in order to maintain and develop, in addition to the inherent advantages, human resources for the Fintech market is the most difficult problem.

The scarcity of human resources in the Fintech sector is a big challenge for Vietnam. Tech engineers are usually good at IT but don’t have in-depth knowledge of finance. Therefore, programming applications for Fintech products and services will face many obstacles.

– Persist in pursuing Fintech investment for many years, despite certain successes, but with this long development process, have you ever felt “impatient”?

By 2023, Finhay has marked a milestone of 6 years of development in the Vietnamese market. From the first day of establishment with only 4 members, Finhay now has more than 150 employees across the country. The company has received a lot of attention from investors when it successfully raised capital 3 times.

A major turning point for Finhay was the acquisition of Vina Securities Joint Stock Company (VNSC) and the start of the transition to VNSC in June 2022. This event not only marks Finhay’s 5 years of establishment but also affirms Finhay’s position among Fintech businesses in the field of personal investment in Vietnam.

Therefore, personally, I have never been afraid and felt “impatient” on the path that I am on. Finhay is still trying to perfect and improve to become the leading Fintech in Vietnam. In the future, we will continue to invest in product quality and user experience for the purpose of bringing a smart financial platform to millions of Vietnamese people by applying technology.

– There were times when Fintech really exploded, people talked about Fintech like a phenomenon, but so far that phenomenon is somewhat fading away, so what do you think is making Fintech fade away?

I personally find that Fintech in Vietnam is no longer a phenomenon but has become part of a vibrant financial market. E-wallets, payment and investment applications… are gradually changing people’s habits.

From a more macro perspective, experts say that Vietnam’s Fintech market has not shown any signs of fading, and is even in a period of strong growth. The Vietnamese Fintech market is also attracting increasing attention from investors. In terms of Fintech financing deals in ASEAN+6 last year, Vietnam ranked third (after Singapore and Indonesia).

– How do you evaluate the current regulatory agencies’ support policies for the Fintech sector?

Although the Fintech sector in Vietnam is in the early stages of development, it has received the attention and active support of the Government and relevant ministries and sectors.

The Government and the Prime Minister have promulgated many programs and projects related to the diversified development of products and services; building business models, electronic payment systems; develop Fintech infrastructure, build a startup portal… in order to create and complete the legal corridor, creating a favorable environment for the development of the Fintech market.

The State Bank of Vietnam has established a Financial Technology Steering Committee to focus on solutions to improve the ecosystem and perfect the legal framework (Sandbox) for Fintech in Vietnam in the banking sector. row.

The government also has special tax programs for startups as well as tax incentives for businesses operating in the field of information technology, businesses working in the high technology field.

– With these policies, combined with the conditions of technology infrastructure, human resources, customers… how do you see the future of this field?

Looking at the factors supporting Fintech, from policies to technology infrastructure and especially the large and growing market, I am confident about the development and future of Fintech in Vietnam. Users are more and more familiar with modern, more optimal experiences, so the potential for Fintech to continue to develop is still very much, spread across many areas in finance.

In the future, Fintech will have the ability to further develop in areas such as international money transfer, bank lending, securities trading. .. Fintech will also provide services that are considered strengths of traditional banks.

Fintech will continue to take the lead in applying new technologies, improving utility, user experience as well as information security for customers. We also always plan to improve products, apply technology platforms to solve difficult problems, help customers find optimal financial solutions. It can be said that in the future, Fintech will still be a strong growth industry and provide a variety of convenient services to serve all the needs of customers.

– What do you think Vietnam needs to do to become an attractive and potential destination for foreign investors in the Fintech field?

According to information I find out, Vietnam is currently ranked third in Southeast Asia (after Indonesia, Singapore) in attracting investment capital in Fintech, accounting for 11% of the total capital of the region, reaching about 4 billion USD – twice as much. 2 times compared to 2020.

From the opportunity to work with foreign investors, I realize that the Vietnamese Fintech market is always attractive and full of potential. However, in order to become an attractive destination for foreign investors, Vietnam needs to step up training and develop technology human resources.

Fintech is a new field and requires highly qualified human resources. Although human resources in Vietnam are abundant, the common ground is not internationally appreciated for its quality. Therefore, the training and nurturing of talents should be a top priority.

Vietnam should have a project to build training centers on technology in general and Fintech in particular. This helps to improve the qualifications and quality of Fintech human resources in the future.

Finhay itself is also constantly innovating, improving processes, training people so that investors and customers can see the effort and seriousness of a young Fintech in a new market like Vietnam.