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New study aims to assess global fintech industry’s resiliency to COVID-19

Joint study between Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, and the World Bank Group to provide essential data to assess the medium-to-longer term impact of the global pandemic on fintech firms worldwide.

Business person using mobile smartphone app analysing fintech data in relation to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School is partnering with the World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum to launch The Global COVID-19 FinTech Market Impact & Industry Resilience Survey. The aim of the joint study is to collect information and data to gain greater insights into the short to medium term impact of the global pandemic on fintech firms, how they have performed in the face of global and local market conditions, what steps they have taken to respond to customer requirements and how the regulatory response to COVID-19 has affected their development and growth.

This new study builds on the findings and insights from the Global COVID-19 Fintech Market Rapid Assessment Study, published in December 2020. The research will capture data related to shifts in key market performance and operational indicators, changes in product or service offerings, policy and regulatory assistance received and needed, plus the extent to which fintech have been able to service key demographic and market segments (e.g. women, underbanked and unbanked, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises).

The survey, which will comprise up to 20 questions and should take no more than 30 minutes to answer, will be conducted online and will run from July through to August, directed at firms operating in fintech or digital financial services (DFS) markets. The study will focus on 13 primary fintech verticals and 103 sub-verticals that are representative of both retail-facing and market-provisioning activities according to the taxonomy developed by the CCAF. These industry verticals include digital lending, digital capital raising, digital payments, digital savings, insurtech, wealthtech and cryptoasset and consensus services.

In order to ensure the widest reach to potential respondents, the team will work with more than 150 global fintech associations and ecosystem partners that have committed to promote the survey to their membership. Additionally, the CCAF is delighted to be working with LendIt, Innovate Finance, GSMA, Crowdfund Insider and Finextra as global survey research partners, further extending global coverage of the survey and the resultant report, which will be published in Q4 this year.

All survey information and data collected will be anonymised and aggregated (e.g. by vertical and country) before analysis and presentation. The resultant report will be publicly disseminated through a series of high-profile media activities and webinars to share the actionable insights and engage with key stakeholder groups, regionally and globally, to create greater impact.

“Our previous Rapid Assessment Study provided a useful snapshot of how fintech firms had coped with the initial market shocks and operating challenges in a global pandemic,” says Bryan Zhang, the Executive Director of the CCAF. “This study aims to collect full-year market data from 2020 that will enable us to assess the impact of the COVID-19 on digital finance services and the resiliency of the global fintech industry empirically.”

“This follow-up survey will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the differences in the business models of fintech firms and whether and how the pandemic continues to affect them; the overall importance that different types of fintech firms have in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs), and the key policy and regulatory measures that remain needed for fintech firms to continue delivering critical financial services across EMDEs,” says Ana Fiorella Carvajal, Lead Financial Sector Expert, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation at the World Bank.

“The global reach of this new survey and our previous study will make the collective data particularly valuable,” says Drew Propson, Head of Technology and Innovation in Financial Services at the World Economic Forum. “As we examine the longer-term impact of the pandemic on fintech firms, breaking the results down to the country level will allow for analyses across geographies, and will better enable cross-regional knowledge exchange and collaboration.”