Exclusive: Lack of Interdisciplinarity - Culprit for FinTech Talent Shortage

By Matthew Lam   Jul 17, 2019 3 Min Read

Exclusive interview with Prof. Aris Stouraitis: Part 1

In FinTech, the talent shortage is always a pain point in Hong Kong. It is our pleasure to discuss with Professor Aris Stouraitis, Department Head of Finance & Decision Sciences at Hong Kong Baptist University to share with us the culprit of FinTech talent shortage. He also highlights how financial institutions, governments, and academic institutions can address this problem.

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From a corporate finance background with publications related to corporate governance and related party transactions, what made you switch from corporate finance to the FinTech field? Are there any publications on FinTech you are currently working on?

I have not changed fields and I am currently still in the corporate finance and corporate governance as before. However, I realized that as a department head, I need to be actively involved in FinTech because this is important for the future. I want to work on the new development of FinTech and artificial intelligence such as the interplay between AI and corporate governance, or new technologies and corporate governance.

The FinTech talent shortage has been a common issue globally. What is the reason behind it and how can financial institutions and the government address such a shortage?

In general, what is lacking currently is interdisciplinarity. People who traditionally study and understand FinTech comes from a computer science background. They are not very proficient in finance and they do not understand how the economy works. People with financial backgrounds do not understand the technical side. I think lack of interdisciplinary for people working in the field is the main issue for talent shortage. However, this situation is getting improved because we are starting to offer interdisciplinary programs and this issue will be gradually solved. 

I believe most financial institutions are now doing in-house FinTech training as there is a lack of programs at universities.

The government is promoting FinTech in 2 ways:

1) At the industry level to attract more FinTech companies to come to Hong Kong;

2) Encouraging universities to start developing more FinTech programs and more FinTech research.

I think these FinTech programs and research will become increasingly interdisciplinary.

The government can do more by helping us attract more FinTech talent in Hong Kong at the university level. To be honest, the universities in Hong Kong just started to look into FinTech development. If the government injects more funding to academic institutions, we can attract more talents worldwide to work in the FinTech industry in Hong Kong.

What about academic institutions? How the government can help them to foster FinTech adoption?

I think the best way to foster FinTech adoption is attracting foreign talents, by doing so we need funding from the government.

Academic institutions are launching new programs at a very fast pace. The government can provide funding for FinTech research. However, the impact will be limited because we do not have talents who have had experience in FinTech research. 

Research funding is not a problem in Hong Kong and I believe talent attraction is a more difficult task. If we have one or two FinTech programs, this can accommodate a certain number of faculty members. We need more funding when there are more FinTech programs in the future





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