The growth of the fintech has led to an explosion of interest in the field as a career choice. Someone who knows all about the fintech industry is Vikram Ramani, SVP of Platform Modernization at FIS. “It’s not all about technology,” says Vikram, “it’s about people, process and technology. And the most important of these is people.”Vikram’s currently responsible for product development and delivery of modernized platforms in the banking and payments space.
A career in fintech brings with it many benefits. For one, fintech employees get to work in a fast-paced environment using the latest technologies. Fintech companies are experiencing rapid growth and are on the cutting edge of innovation, making them exciting places to work. “If you are comfortable with a rapid pace and constant change then the fintech industry might be for you,” he says. Indeed, the fintech industry will have an annual growth rate of 24.8% through 2022, according to The Business Research Company, although those numbers may have gone higher due to the pandemic.
While seeming to be entirely new, fintech has been evolving over the past five decades into a vast technology infrastructure that most people don’t even think about because it always works. “The excitement of fintech today is the innovation being demanded now by both customers and investors,” says Vikram.
Prior to FIS , Vikram worked in Equifax. When Equifax decided to transform beyond just a credit bureau to a data & analytics company , Vikram was instrumental in bringing a state of the art decisioning solution to the market. “A huge telecom company was our first large customer,” he says, “and they were able to eliminate their entire credit review department because we delivered more value and automation to the customer.
Vikram later became VP of Technology Operations at Equifax and expanded the products to other major retailers across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. After this success, Vikram was put in charge of Identity and Fraud Solutions, which gave him both a customer facing role and a P&L to look after. He also completed his MBA from the Emory Goizueta Business School during this time.
After obtaining his MBA, Vikram was ready to take on the next challenge and expanded responsibilities. He was appointed the CIO of International Emerging Markets which included our assets in Eastern Europe , Middle East , India and Southeast Asia . “I had to travel a lot but it was a fantastic challenge,” he says. “Much of the portfolio was essentially a green field/startup form and I had the opportunity to transform the Technology portfolio into steady state / stable corporate form. We achieved profitability ahead of schedule in the region.”
Vikram’s last role at Equifax was as SVP of Digital Platforms where he worked as an integral part of the huge post-breach transformation of the company, transforming their digital platforms stack.
Moving to FIS in May of 2019, Vikram is very excited to be with the company. “I have an ocean of opportunities at FIS. It’s an extremely well run company and touches nearly every aspect of the financial universe. Senior leaders are approachable and not afraid to make decisions or take fast action,” he says.
With rapid changes going on in today’s fintech world people interested in fintech should be aware that softer skills are quite important. This is even more important in today’s Covid environment where employee morale in the virtual workplace has to be nurtured and maintained. “Cooperation and collaboration are very important,” says Vikram, “as are good communication and team leadership skills. Being a problem solver and being able to shift gears quickly is a highly desirable trait. You must have your technical or “job” skills to succeed but you also need more to support growth. “The seven elements that support global business growth, according to Harvard professor Bill George, are ‘adaptability, awareness, curiosity, empathy, alignment, collaboration and integration.’ I try to keep this in mind every day,” he says.
As demand for fintech workers grow, fintech salaries are rising. Research from Indeed shows that the most highly paid jobs in the fintech industry are management, project owners, software engineers and architects and sales. “Of course, keep in mind that fintech companies also have the usual company functions of finance, HR, marketing and other infrastructure” says Vikram.
And a lot of social good is coming from fintech, says Vikram. “Fintech industry innovation will likely drive down transaction costs and allow financial products to reach people who previously had no access,” he says. “Fintech will lead to toward financial inclusion for many people who are currently underserved.”
Innovation will become a constant mainstream activity and not a once in a while thing, according to Vikram. “Financial institutions in the near future will be more flexible and will anticipate demand from a wider range of needs,” he says. “Innovation will provide the type of services that consumers want – the way they want them.”
According to The Fintech Times, 24% of US citizens already rely on digital only banking and only 34% of people under 35 years of age carry cash with them at all. Financial services is clearly moving to a digital world in part because their customers want the same personalized, streamlines digital services that they currently get from Amazon and Netflix. Innovative fintechs will provide these services.
“New tools for new challenges will be implemented and adopted by financial institutions and their customers. Customer needs are being put first and they will have more choices than ever before,” says Vikram.
“I’ve been working in the fintech industry for over 20 years and I can’t think of a more satisfying career,” says Vikram. “Money and personal finances are deeply embedded in our everyday lives and fintech makes dealing with these necessities as easy and fast as possible. The industry will continue to innovate and grow. Anyone who has thought about moving into fintech should give it a fair chance. I’m glad I did.”