An Interview with Neha Punater, Partner and Head of Fintech, KPMG India
"Fintech entrepreneurs are playing a big role in developing novel solutions and offering unique prepositions - they have played a big role in causing disruption in integrating IT with banking."
What are your business and digital priorities for the next 6 months?
Punater: My business priority for the next 6 months is to be a digital and fintech evangelist – generating awareness in these areas, educating our clients and assisting them in embarking their digital transformation journey. They all have the want but not the means. We at KPMG would like to engage into a strategic partnership with our clients and ensure they are able to innovate and make the transition.
FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the biggest game changer across financial services?
Punater: I feel that innovations in the areas of mobility, biometric and digital wallets have been a real boom for the FS industry. It has widened the scope of banking and has opened a big market for all players. Increasing mobile penetration has already made its mark around the way people deal with ecommerce market place in partnership with digital wallets. Things like biometric are going to replace traditional security measures and the need for physical money or cash is bound to go down through a combination of all the three.
FST Media: How are you leveraging big data and analytics at KPMG?
Punater: We have at dedicated Big data and Analytics practice at KPMG. It is a major focus area for us as Big data and analytics is required for all industries to enable real time decisions and personalizing their services. We are exploring all options with our existing clients to make use of our expertise in the Big data / Analytics domain.
FST Media: What specific insight does KPMG bring into the growing Indian fintech ecosystem?
Punater: KPMG has been instrumental in putting a Fintech ecosystem in place in India. We have launched a white paper on the Fintech landscape in India. While on one hand we are driving the traditional organizations towards adopting fintech solutions, on the other hand we are in partnership with various Fintechs and hand holding them to develop a workable prototype. We are leveraging our expertise to both sides to ensure that there is a business case and need for partnership.
FST Media: How can traditional financial services and fintech disrupters work together?
Punater: Traditional financial services enjoy a huge trust aspect of their customers. They have been around for a long time and have deep rooted presence in the financial ecosystem. Fintech being disrupters can collaborate with these traditional banking channels and bring value addition services to the forefront. In this way, it will be a win-win situation and ultimately the customer will emerge as a final winner.
FST Media: How does KPMG tackle risks related to Cybersecurity?
Punater: We at KPMG have a large cyber security practice consisting of industry professionals who are experts in this area. We in fact, advise our clients on how they should address the threats arising out of their digital transactions and services and what kind of corrective measures they can set in place.
FST Media: How will fintech continue to develop in India heading into 2017?
Punater: We see the Fintech revolution in India at an emerging stage. We see a lot of interest in fintech companies by the banks and financial institutions. They are exploring and assessing the right set of partnerships at this stage and we will witness a high degree of adoption in 2017.
FST Media: What is the next big thing for KPMG and how will you measure its success?
Punater: There are multiple priorities that KPMG is pursing in the market - Data & Analytics, Digital, E-Commerce and Start-ups and Cyber security, Fintech, Robotics and Cognitive Technologies to name a few. Our success would be measured in whether we are able to make a significant impact for our clients through these solutions.
FST Media: What is your key piece of advice for fintech entrepreneurs?
Punater: Fintech entrepreneurs are playing a big role in developing novel solutions and offering unique prepositions. They have played a big role in causing disruption in integrating IT with banking. We have been into partnerships with many Fintechs and find them buzzing with new ideas. Its due to lack of resources they are not able to make a significant impact. We can handhold them and provide them with an ecosystem and nurture them.
FST Media: What profession would you like to work in aside from your current one?
Punater: I would like to work in the field of education – making an impact at the grassroots level and enabling our people to skill themselves to take advantage of the changing job profiles of tomorrow.