The panelists in today’s session, titled ‘All roads lead to the digital world’, were Google Pay
Managing Director and business head Sajith Sivanandan, PhonePe
Chief Executive Sameer Nigam; Mswipe founder & CEO Manish Patel, Zerodha
Chief Investment Officer Nikhil Kamath, VISA group country manager (India & South Asia) T R Ramachandran, and Infrasoft Technologies MD & CEO Rajesh Mirjankar.
Ramachandran observed that several interesting trends had emerged for the fintech sector
from the Covid-19 pandemic. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) digitisation had gone up, along with the number of innovative payment solutions, there was a heterogenity of payments and the government had decided to play an active role in the space. "Any sector in which the government is interested is always an interesting sector."
Mswipe's Patel said while he saw more opportunities than challenges in the future, the challenges were real and needed to be addressed. He further said that in contrast with offline payments earlier, more and more SMEs were shifting to online. "Largely, payments for SMEs meant offline. For the first time these SMEs are thinking of going online," he said.
Zerodha's Kamath said: "More and more people are now moving to web platforms for stock trading."
Crises tend to be a fertile breeding ground for innovation and an acceleration of a lot of trends in the fintech space has happened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Google Pay’s Sivanandan said. "In 5 months, we have seen 5-10 years of progress."
On his part, PhonePe's Nigam said Covid-19 had been very helpful in customer acquisition, with customers themselves turning into spokespersons for digital payment.
Speaking on “sachetisation” of products like insurance and mutual funds, Nigam said: "The moment you talk about ‘Bharat’ consumers, you really need a 'sachet' for everything. Commenting on WhatsApp’s possible entry into the space, Nigam said: "I would like them to enter sooner than later. In payments, the first-mover advantage is really not that important."
Zerodha's Kamath spoke about under-penetration of the broking market in the country and said that in the US equity markets there were a lot more participants. "It is not one broker cannibalising the other; we have to grow as a market as it is still underpenetrated in India," he said. He also said that more capital needed to come into the financial ecosystem.
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