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Is fintech feeding on Wall Street's brains?

By NexChange



Is fintech partly responsible for a perceived Wall Street brain drain? It comes as no surprise that the legion of fintech start-ups coming onto the scene are gobbling up talent with gusto, but is it really to the detriment of industry incumbents?

UK financial rag City AM came to this conclusion earlier this year. It noted that since the financial crisis a career at a major financial institution might not hold the same appeal for high-flying young go-getters.

Data from top business schools like Chicago Booth, Wharton, London Business School, and Insead showed a 20% drop in MBA graduates entering finance between 2007 and 2013. This contrasts sharply with what's going on in the technology sector which has roughly doubled its intake of MBA graduates over the same period.

Then again, correlation does not always equal causation. Mukesh Bubna, founder of Hong Kong-based P2P lending platform Monexo, told NexChange he has mixed views:
"In Asia it is still about working for big names, but I think it is changing. A lot more people call Monexo (from the financial services space)  to say, 'Hey, we heard about you, can we join you?', but we are also very choosy about who we bring in,  because coming from a corporate world you are only doing one thing; in a start-up you do 20. Some people can't make that transition easily."
It is worth noting at this point that Bubna quit his job with Citigroup to launch his fintech start-up.

What is clear at least is that the fintech sector is hungry for talent, to the point of cannibalization. The Australian Financial Review accused the UK government not too long ago of "pinching" the best and brightest of Australia's nascent fintech industry by flying them over to London -- triggering a "global war for innovation talent".
Photo: Charis Tsevis

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