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How Kiwi FinTech is helping keep NZ’s economy on track

06 Aug 2020

James Fuller, CEO and co-founder of the Wellington-based online freelance accountancy firm Hnry (pictured above), says that the business experienced a surge in client numbers during lockdown which has continued. 

Fuller says that since the pandemic, more and more Kiwis are looking to take more control over their earning and spending and that FinTech companies keeping a focus on people’s wellbeing during uncertain times is an important factor.

“People are looking to find ways to make their money go further and to invest for the future. The FinTech industry is already well placed to support them, and in a recessive economy I think we’ll continue to see a massive uptake in online financial services - particularly those that support people in earning more, spending less, and investing wisely”.

Fuller says that with New Zealand being one of only a handful of countries globally that have got a proper hold on COVID-19 and, having started down the path to economic recovery, the opportunity for Kiwi businesses to start serving overseas markets is massive.

“I think that post-COVID New Zealand could potentially only serve to accelerate the export of our tech, with our businesses able to bring their Kiwi flavour to the world,” he said.

Investment platform Sharesies co-founder and co-CEO Leighton Roberts says they too have experienced a very strong growth period.

“Within reason, we were reasonably well prepared for a disruptive event, though we would never have guessed that the pandemic would be it,” he says.

“We have focused on supporting our people first and always taken the lens that this is a health crisis first, and an economic crisis second - which is easy to forget in an industry like ours”. 

Roberts said Sharesies worked to increase education content and actively connected with investors as much as possible throughout the pandemic.

“There is a hugely challenging period ahead for many industries, but more than likely this will really kick FinTech into another gear - nothing drives change like a crisis,” he said.

“I think it is a great time for the government and NZ to really invest in technology growth - this could drive some incredible future opportunities for NZ”.

A growing number of Kiwi financial technology businesses are emerging as leaders in New Zealand’s economic recovery post-COVID 19 with innovative platforms and initiatives - while still keeping a real focus on people’s needs and wellbeing.

The rise of online FinTech services in NZ was already underway but has continued to skyrocket during COVID-19 as people looked for new ways to work, earn, buy, account and invest. 

Having been world-leading in responding to the pandemic, New Zealand is likely to remain in the international spotlight as we look towards economic recovery, with FinTech one of the driving industries.

Fund a Future CEO and founder Guillaume Dehan says that the businesses in the Kiwi FinTech industry are not only incredibly supportive of each other but also resilient because they put a tangible focus on helping people, at the heart of what they do.

Fund a Future is a newly-launched platform to help New Zealanders either re-gift their charitable donation rebates from IRD or use that money to help get through challenging economic times. 

“Business as usual is not satisfactory. We need to reinvent business models that create positive impacts and that are driving change for good, in order to put purpose at the heart of what we are doing.”

Fuller says this focus on putting people first is common not just at businesses like Hnry, Sharesies and Fund a Future, but in the wider FinTech industry too, which is going from strength to strength despite so many recent economic challenges.

“NZ is being looked to by the rest of the world as a role model in responding to the pandemic. We can do that in our economic recovery too by keeping sight of our Kiwi values,” he said.