Practical analysis for investment professionals
02 January 2017

Best of 2016: Fintech

Posted In: Best Of

Finance professionals should have a healthy concern about how fintech — financial technology — will affect their employers and their own career prospects.

The amount of information and the number of forums on the fintech conundrum can be overwhelming, so as we have said since our initial foray into the subject, we will try to bring some clarity to this fundamental and important issue.

In research conducted by CFA Institute, we have found that current fintech discussions, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, tend to suffer from two shortcomings:

  1. Content and events are often driven by fintech start-ups looking to disrupt the industry. No wonder “disruption” has become the buzzword.
  2. Despite all the hope and hype about the role China will play in the development of fintech globally, the discussions in and out of China are more segmented than connected.

For a more efficient and informative fintech conversation, a balance has to be struck between the perspectives of financial institutions and those of fintech start-ups. Our hypothesis is that financial institutions are major players in many, if not all, aspects of  fintech, but especially in blockchain technology and robo-advisers. Hopefully, through a balanced and connected discussion, this realization will take hold.

The articles presented below represent some of the best fintech-related content of 2016.

Fintech’s Disruptive Potential

To better understand whether fintech is really disruptive to the investment management industry, Sviatoslav Rosov, CFA, spoke with Horace Dediu of the Christensen Institute for some insight.

Invest-Tech: The Next Phase of Fintech Innovation

“All invest-tech rests on two pillars,” according to Ashby Monk of the Stanford Global Projects Center: “data latency, which is the speed in acquiring or processing error-free inputs, and inferential depth, which is the profoundness and durable accuracy of insights.”

Josh Brown on the Fiduciary Standard and Fintech

The fiduciary standard and business-to-business financial technology (fintech) have the potential to improve financial markets for investors, says Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management.

The Fintech Effect: What Will Bring the Most Change?

We surveyed readers of CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief about what area of fintech they think has the potential to most transform the financial services industry. The results were compelling.

The Fintech Files: What Does It Take to Be Successful?

Despite all the talk of disruption, fintech start-ups are as vulnerable as any other start-up. So what are the factors that separate the winners from the losers? I interviewed Gregory Gibb, chairman of, for his perspective.

The Fintech Files: Will P2P Disrupt the Banks?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a form of direct lending where money flows directly from lenders to borrowers. The question is: Will P2P eventually replace banks? I address that question in the second installment of my interview with Gregory Gibb.

Some of these selections have been consolidated into a Chinese language booklet, with an English version in development, that includes contributions from several fintech experts who are CFA Institute members, and is available for distribution at companion events.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

About the Author(s)
Larry Cao, CFA

Larry Cao, CFA, senior director of industry research, CFA Institute, conducts original research with a focus on the investment industry trends and investment expertise. His current research interests include multi-asset strategies and FinTech (including AI, big data, and blockchain). He has led the development of such popular publications as FinTech 2017: China, Asia and Beyond, FinTech 2018: The Asia Pacific Edition, Multi-Asset Strategies: The Future of Investment Management and AI Pioneers in Investment management. He is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences on these topics. During his time in Boston pursuing graduate studies at Harvard and as a visiting scholar at MIT, he also co-authored a research paper with Nobel laureate Franco Modigliani that was published in the Journal of Economic Literature by American Economic Association. Larry has more than 20 years of experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining CFA Institute, Larry worked at HSBC as senior manager for the Asia Pacific region. He started his career at the People’s Bank of China as a USD fixed-income portfolio manager. He also worked for US asset managers Munder Capital Management, managing US and international equity portfolios, and Morningstar/Ibbotson Associates, managing multi-asset investment programs for a global financial institution clientele. Larry has been interviewed by a wide range of business media, such as Bloomberg, CNN, the Financial Times, South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal.

3 thoughts on “Best of 2016: Fintech”

  1. Francis Mumbi says:

    Nic article

  2. Clement Gavi says:

    ‘Our hypothesis is that financial institutions are major players in many, if not all, aspects of fintech, but especially in blockchain technology and robo-advisers. Hopefully, through a balanced and connected discussion, this realization will take hold.’

    This seems to be a sound hypothesi for Financial institutions that as such are given in a structure that is affected by an event, new technologies. Thus, they are able, through attentiveness to the structure as a whole, to accurately pose the data of the problems posed by new technologies, to seize and exploit them by responding to the explicit and implicit needs that can be expressed in another form.

  3. Robert F Boyd CFA says:

    Corporate Governance is the one dynamic that is nearly impossible to calibrate. Luckily, most do not seriously address this variable variable Yet of all variables, it is the most important.


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