Baldeep Singh Pahwa, General Manager & Country Head, Constellar Exhibitions

Baldeep Singh Pahwa is the Head of India business of Constellar Exhibitions, the events arm of Constellar Holdings, which is wholly owned by Temasek & Singapore Press Holdings, a Singapore-based investment company. Currently, Baldeep has been leading the Events Business of Constellar Holdings in India and managing for India entity, the Marketing, Project Management, Operations and Sales teams for shows across seven clusters of Constellar’s Events business. With over 14 years of experience in Project Management, Business Development and Application Deployment, Baldeep is skilled in conflict and crisis management and turning around at-risk projects into resounding success.

 

Over the last decade, the financial sector in India has undergone a profound transformation with digital technologies reshaping payments, e-commerce, lending, insurance and wealth management. Covid-19 has only accelerated the change. This has made the delivery of a range of financial products and services, especially in the fintech space, more diverse, efficient, transparent and competitive than ever. Above all, it has fast-tracked financial inclusion across the country.

At present, the Indian fintech market – the third-biggest globally – is valued at $31 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22% reaching $84 billion by 2025. The value of fintech transactions is set to grow at a CAGR of 20%, from $66 billion in 2019 to $138 billion in 2023.

In fact, the fintech industry has seen a phenomenal growth of over 67% with 2,100 new startups in just the last five years. The cumulative investment in domestic fintechs during this period stood at over $10 billion.

Over the years, the fintech ecosystem has evolved into several sub-segments, which, apart from payments and lending, now includes wealth technology (WealthTech), Insurance Technology (InsurTech), Regulation Technology (RegTech) and Personal Finance Management, among others.

As of May this year, as many as 224 banks were a part of the United Payments Interface (UPI) and accounted for 2.6 billion transactions worth around $68 billion. This meant an increase of 15x since May 2018.

Indeed, there has been a sharp increase in digital and contactless payments since the pandemic, giving a fresh impetus to the goal of a less-cash economy. Months of lockdown forced more consumers to switch to digital payments for their everyday needs and financial commitments, such as food delivery, utility payments and loan EMIs.

I see this as a positive development as it will encourage more people to reap the benefits of digital payments including the ease, convenience and security of financial transactions. Simultaneously, the rise of fintechs is also leading to financial education of the unbanked and bringing them under the formal financial system. This in turn is ensuring financial wellbeing and a better life for these communities.

The rapid success of the fintech industry has prompted traditional banks to jump on the fintech bandwagon. More banks are partnering with tech-driven fintech players to offer a range of products and services to their customers. Banks are using fintech digital platforms for opening of accounts, offering loan facilities, enabling online or digital payments, distributing credit and debit cards, sending and receiving funds, and other financial services. The partnerships with fintechs have made banking so efficient, seamless and contactless that it has resulted in branchless banking, less cash holdings and financial transactions through user-friendly mobile apps.

On their part, policymakers are regularly issuing new guidelines to create a risk-free and secure fintech ecosystem for the key stakeholders – banks, fintechs and customers. In coming years, we can expect the fintech sector to develop many new-age technologies that offer highly personalised services to customers and make their journey across financial services easier than at any time in the past.

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