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Female Fintech Leaders: Critical To A Thriving NZ Economy

Over the past few years, a strong financial technology ecosystem has evolved in New Zealand with hundreds of new fintech companies.

Fintech has also emerged as a high-tech sector where women are taking management positions, FintechNZ general manager James Brown says.

“There are some awesome fintech women coming through to led big companies. Being woman is an advantage because finance used to be a male-dominated world and females bring a different point of view that they can leverage.

“We have chief executives such as Carmen Vicelich from Valocity and Frances Valentine from Mindlab. There are a host of other high flying fintech women including people like Claudia Smith from AplyID, Leeanna Kohn Hardy from Finappster, Rachel Strevens from Invsat, Nicole Buisson from Huddle, Jannat maquool at Ecosystem, Samar Alrayyes at Microsoft, Ivana Tranchini at Visa and Anna Curzon at Xero.”

Curzon, chief product officer at Xero, is on the to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and was a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Brown says technology and fintech are seeing a surge in female founders and leaders. Companies like Sharesies, Valocity, Hatch, Invsta and AplyID are helping pave the way for future female leaders in the sector.

“One of the things we are working on is a clear pathway into the tech sector which will help make the decision easier for women. Technology is helping to bridge the gender gap which is a real challenge and one that has a huge impact on retirement.”

Brown says the female economy is an enormous market opportunity that fintechs are well positioned to exploit.

London-based fintech research and analytics company Findexable says, in 2019, the proportion of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29 percent, the highest number ever recorded.

Women control more than $US216 trillion in wealth according to the World Bank and are responsible for up to 89 percent of purchasing decisions globally.

Global Findex says only 65 percent of women have access to a bank account, compared to 72 percent of men.

The fintech sector is poised to close the gender gap and respond to women’s distinct needs and behaviours. Doing so represents a revenue opportunity worth billions.

The Financial Alliance for Women last year published a survey showing how fintechs can profit from the multi-trillion dollar female economy.

Brown says although the number of women in fintech is slowly improving, systemic flaws, deep-rooted challenges and biases persist, creating barriers to gender diversity and hindering women’s rise to the top.

“Both the government and the investment industry are working hard to ensure fintech is set up for success in the years to come.

“Fintech needs women more than ever right now. The diversity numbers within all major fintech companies, especially in senior leadership levels, are massively lacking.”


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