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Four-day week conversation to accelerate in 2020

As a new work year begins, experts are expecting the four-day week conversation will accelerate in 2020, with a number of Kiwi companies looking to pilot the concept.

The initiative was created by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart at Perpetual Guardian. Evidence shows very clearly how chasing productivity is good for the business.

"Maybe more importantly, being able to free up time for employees gives them the choice to learn a new skill, spend time with family or do something for the local community," FintechNZ general manager James Brown says. Brown is a four-day week ambassador.

Microsoft in Japan has agreed to trial it and the United Kingdom government is looking at a 32-hour working week.

“How high will this be on the New Zealand government’s radar, especially with all the conversation around health and wellbeing,” Brown says.

“2020 will see more investment from overseas into the UK now that the new government has been elected. This is particularly good for New Zealand as the first free trade agreement (FTA) discussions will be with the UK and New Zealand which will focus on our services offering. This will really help make fintech a key motivation for us," he explains.

“Now that Brexit is as good as done, the talent who were hesitant about relocating to the UK will now make the jump so they should see, a sharp jump in talent availability.

“2020 will also be the year that fintech truly goes global with the likes of GoCardless, with the global network platform around direct debit. Others like Transferwise, who recently entered the New Zealand market, will continue to expand into new markets," says Brown.

“Values, health and wellbeing will become more prominent in the Kiwi conversation and how AI plays a role in diagnosis and tracking a patient.”

Brown says Fintechs will see the potential of moving into the business market with accounts for SMEs looking like an option, a good opportunity for fintechs and incumbents to work together to create viable solutions.

"AI will play a bigger role in cyber attacks as the criminal underground become even more advanced in how they extract data from a company without its knowledge. New Zealand is particularly vulnerable, with only six percent of companies having adequate protection," he says.

Brown says green fintech will gather momentum with a large focus on how tech can tackle climate change.

"We saw the UK open the world’s first Green Bank in 2019. Now, New Zealand has a chance to insert some measures and initiatives into the FTA with the UK and help lead the charge," he says.

"Conversational AI will be adopted more by large Kiwi companies around customer engagement as we continue to streamline and automate mundane processes."

Brown says there will be more collaboration between fintech and incumbents. ]

"We have seen examples with ASB Bank taking a stake in Trade Window which is just the start of things to come," he says.

“We may even see banks start to look at lending against the intangible asset rather than cashflow and tangible assets as we move deeper into a digital world."

Brown says with 2020 being an election year, he expects to see more investment in infrastructure. "Which is much needed in this country. However, I want to see more attention given to fintech, as the world economy starts to slow," he adds.

“Our agriculture will face challenges with the rise of meatless meats and questions around environmental impact. Tourism has slowed due to restrictions on overseas investors and environmental challenges around travel.

“So, what can help stimulate our economy? The short answer is fintech," says Brown. 

"We only have to look at New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong driving the conversation around fintech and its role in economic growth," he explains.

“This has all taken place because the government, the regulators and industry have all come together for the greater good. This is what I hope to achieve in 2020 with an industry-wide led initiative around open data.

“We must learn from the UK to help drive more competition in a dominated market and provide more transparency to help rebuild some of the trust that has been lost across our financial services sector."