“Banks and financial organizations have to keep up with new developments”

He talked about ‘The Great Transformation of the Financial Markets’ at the invitation of the CFA Society (Mauritius), on Tuesday at Hennessy Park Hotel. Takis Niarchos, Senior Wealth Advisor at Sanlam Private Wealth Mauritius, laid much emphasis on new technologies which impact on every aspect of our lives. He says that banks and financial organizations should keep pace with new developments and technologies and also affirms that it will be more difficult for the workforce to do same, unless they receive help from governments and business leaders
>> When we talk about the great transformation of the financial markets, is it mainly from a technological and innovation point of view?
Yes, we talk about technology and innovation in all aspects of life. Financial services, healthcare, education, transportation…
>> You said, at one point of time, that Fintech firms and the financial services companies are coming together to “meet the challenges”. What are these challenges?
The challenges, today, are big. First of all, businesses have to compete globally to do better business. And there are lots of risks today in the global markets. Different companies, along with Fintech companies, are coming together to find different solutions to create new business and to lower the risks they encounter in the market. That is why businesses like to partner with Fintech companies. Of course, the costs are very high and it’s no reason for everyone to taper into these opportunities.
>> Only for the time being, right?
Yes, right now.
>> As you said, solar panels were very expensive some 10 – 15 years back. Now, they are more affordable…
Of course. All these technologies are very new and therefore they are very expensive in every aspect. I spoke about the new technologies in investments, finance, banking… They apply to every aspect of our lives be it healthcare or education.
>> Do you feel that in the process of keeping pace with technologies, some institutions like banks are losing their identity? You said, in your speech, that it’s becoming difficult to differentiate banks and investment institutions from tech companies.
I said so, but not really in the sense that they lose their identity. The banks are just changing the way they do business. If you remember, a few years ago, people would queue up at bank counters to get their transactions done. Sometimes it would take hours. Today, if you are abroad and you have a bank account in Mauritius, you can easily do your transactions, pays your bills… This is also an innovation. It simplifies your life. Banks and financial organizations have to try to keep up as much as possible with the new developments. Otherwise they will lose business and their competitors will do better.
>> But do you think that the workforce will be able to keep pace with these new technologies?
Well, I believe this will not be easy. The workforce should benefit from a lot of help from governments, business leaders… I see that here, in Mauritius, the government tries to keep up with the new technologies. They should keep up on that and try to even do it on a bigger scale because this is something that will keep Mauritius competitive and remain on the top.
>> However, it’s not easy to keep pace with something which evolves overnight…
Yes, you are right. These technologies are changing literally overnight. Certainly it’s not easy. But to do nothing and stand behind and watch the developments is worse. There are certain things you can do. We should try to keep up with the most important technologies in the three main sectors, which are finance, education and healthcare, because there are thousands of new technologies out there. It will give advantages to the people and to the businesses to try and attract opportunities. This is the only thing we can do right now.

Financial markets: Let’s talk transformation
Amazon is becoming a virtual bank. The government of Dubai plans to introduce autonomous flying taxi services this year. 3-D printing technology will be able to print a new house at a very low cost and in just few hours. Tesla has designed solar power panels which can power a home. Google, IBM and other giants are using artificial intelligence to redefine and redesign healthcare for medical treatments.
“The results are far beyond our imaginations. Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution era!”, says Takis Niarchos, Senior Wealth Advisor, Sanlam Private Wealth Mauritius. He was invited by the CFA Society (Mauritius) to deliver a speech, on Tuesday, on ‘The Great Transformation of the Financial Markets’.
According to him, the society of the future looks nothing like we might imagine. The world is rapidly changing and governments, businesses and individuals must adapt to the new reality. New technologies and discoveries are transforming our daily activities. There are many academics and think tanks who believe that in the next ten years our society will achieve and invent more than in the last 2 000 years.
“Many people believe that during this process millions of jobs will be eliminated. But the reality is that millions of new jobs will be created with new skills that will be required. The new innovations in technology, even if they bring temporary disruptions, will eventually improve our lives and even tackle humanity challenges like poverty, job creation, education and healthcare,” he explained.
He further added that advanced technology continues to drive the organizational change agenda, and it is up to us to use it wisely.
“There are many trends shaping our lives today, but it seems that artificial intelligence, a computer model which makes decision based on the input, is one of the most important, and will drive forth the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is being increasingly used in every aspect of our lives from healthcare, automation, robotics, transportation, finance, economics and certainly investments ”, he pursued.
Furthermore, financial services companies and banking institutions are increasingly using artificial intelligence to do their operations, invest, store information, and secure transactions… Therefore, he added, it is getting harder and harder to distinguish banks and investment organizations from tech companies as they innovate in financial technology.
“One example is the UK’s Investment Association (IA) who will be launching a fintech accelerator, called VeloCity, for the asset management industry. The CEO of the Association stated that Fintech firms are a key element in the process, driving innovation across the asset management industry to the benefit of investors, savers and pensioners”.
[From left to right: Takis Niarchos in company of Nousher Sait, President of CFA Society Mauritius]

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