May 30

Wonders & Blunders: Blues Skies Forecast for Fintech

 

 
OUR CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK’S NEWS
All manner of “signs” and “signals” abound in finance and technology news this year.
 
Our first “signal” is from McKinsey’s AI report and it’s a wake-up call to companies that have not embraced AI. Late adopters could be at a permanent disadvantage to the current early adopters. The study details the benefits of AI, which extend far beyond cost savings.
 
GreenSky’s IPO outcome could signal a wave of fintech IPOs, testing the waters of the stock market for the industry. The offering was a success — the water’s warm, jump in!
 
Another signal for change is when a product is no longer profitable, despite its technical performance. Fidelity’s mutual funds fall into this boat. One of the company’s top funds outperformed 97 percent of its competitors, but investors consistently pull more money from it than invest into the fund. Will Fidelity cut ties with its legendary mutual funds?
 
Aggressive Early AI Adopter Advantages
 
Large companies currently applying AI may have an “insurmountable advantage” compared to companies hesitant to adopt the technology, according to McKinsey Global Institute’s study of more than 3,000 business executives. The report doesn’t name the early adopters in the study, but likely contenders include Google, Microsoft, Baidu and Tencent. The study describes a difference in mindset of early adopters, who view AI as a growth opportunity used to increase financial performance, attract talent and create new products, whereas many companies that haven’t adopted AI believe its only benefit is cost savings.
Will GreenSky’s Success Trigger a Flurry of Fintech IPOs?
Wonder: New Fintech IPO Offers Litmus Test for Online Lenders – Peter Rudegeair in The Wall Street Journal.
 
Atlanta-based fintech company GreenSky filed its IPO last week, which had online lenders watching with bated breath. Lending startups have seen tough times recently, and this IPO’s success could act a litmus test to predict how many fintech startups will go public this year. GreenSky differentiates itself from other online lenders by calling itself a “leading technology company” in its filings, its profitability is much higher than competitors and it has low customer acquisition costs through innovative partner merchant marketing.
Fidelity Funds Flounder
Blunder: Fidelity, Bruised From Crises, Searches for Life After Mutual Funds – Landon Thomas Jr. in The New York Times.
 
Fidelity’s legendary mutual funds keep losing investors, no matter how well the funds perform. Soon, Fidelity may stop depending on its mutual funds to focus more attention on growth strategies, including acquiring corporate 401(k) plans and acting as custodians for investment firms. In addition to mutual fund disinterest, the company also faces sexual harassment scandals and other allegations of misconduct by portfolio managers. CEO Abigail P. Johnson’s crisis recovery tactics include a broad review of the firm’s culture and moving to a team-based system to encourage gender equality.
» IN THE NEWS
Pasadena magazine speaks with Charles Thorngren, CEO of Noble Bitcoin, about cryptocurrency investments.
Technology Blog Writer speaks with Dr. Eugene
Izhikevich, CEO and Co-Founder of Brain Corp, about turning manually-operated machines into autonomous solutions.
Three pillars of marketing and PR strategy include owned media, earned media and paid media. These terms appear frequently in online marketing discussions, but what exactly do they mean? How are they important to your company? How can you combine them to accomplish your goals of attracting and retaining customers?
» FEATURED CASE STUDY: Brain Corp
Brain Corp, a Qualcomm Ventures-funded robotics company based in San Diego, was seeking brand visibility to support several new product launches and a 2017 funding round. Specifically, Brain Corp wanted to be recognized as the company that builds artificial brains for robots and self-driving vehicles, not as a company that builds robots. Brain Corp asked KCD PR to quickly advance that message to key technology and business reporters prior to the company’s announcement of its partnership with a national retailer.
 
 
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