Scientific Coordination: Paola Bongini, Rosa Cocozza, Stefano Dell’Atti, Umberto Filotto
In recent years we have witnessed a revolution in the financial sector, both in terms of technology and process disruption (Gompers et al., 2017). New technologies are changing the way consumers and businesses access services, creating opportunities for FinTech-based solutions to provide better access to finance, improve financial inclusion for digitally connected citizens and also in many situations reduce inequality (European Commission, 2018). Previous research has shown that the benefits of digital finance include increased financial inclusion (Ozili, 2018), accelerated supply for currently ‘unbanked’ citizens, especially in emerging countries (Gabor and Brooks, 2017), but also easier access of SMEs to alternative forms of finance (e.g. crowdfunding, token offerings, etc.) to better diversify their sources of funding. However, their impact is not only limited to these contexts; by building on the latest technologies (e.g. blockchain, AI, IoT and Big Data), companies operating in fintech contexts have the potential to turn current green investment and sustainability challenges into opportunities that could help reduce the negative effects of climate change.
At the same time, as finance is transforming into digital finance, exploiting digital channels more than physical ones, financial institutions, banks are also transforming their distribution models (Galardo et al., 2020) and business models. An increasing number of banks are addressing this complexity by acquiring new Fintechs or forming strategic alliances to meet the digitisation challenge. Digital finance and fintechs allow banks to occupy specific market niches (Leong et al., 2017), to offer new financial products or activities (Gomber et al., 2017) and to propose new business models, including the expansion of financial services into non-financial sectors.
In the age of digital finance, new and different actors have emerged, including fintechs, BigTech, banks and non- financial players. However, it is not yet clear how to make the simultaneous presence of these new players with those of so-called traditional finance economically sustainable and profitable. Currently, three different scenarios can be imagined: (i) bank dominance, with digital finance firms as service providers, mainly as captive companies of large and complex banking institutions; (ii) reinterpretation of the banking sector, with digital finance taking the lead in customer trust while traditional banks (and insurance companies) turn into mere service providers; (iii) banking ecosystem, in which traditional and digital finance compete on an equal footing, with the risk of not being able to positively contaminate each other.
While the effects of technological change and digitisation have mainly been considered and analysed in other industries (e.g. Tongur and Engwall, 2014), this track aims to focus on the financial sector.
Type of paper expected
This track welcomes both qualitative and quantitative approaches, favouring those that refer to concrete cases or that allow for the preliminary identification of best practices, also with a view to the general advancement of the literature and a real contribution to institutions, businesses and society.
Suggested topic areas
With reference to any type of actor operating in the financial sector (traditional finance, start-ups, BigTech, non- financial companies, etc.), the track aims – but is not limited – to include papers oriented towards one of the following topics:
• Models of cooperation, alliance or competition between traditional and digital actors and their governance.
• Impact and changing business models as a result of digital transformation
• Changes in the risk profile of funding supply and demand and macroeconomic implications
• Effects, challenges and organisational impacts of the transformation
• Sources of innovation and disruption in the fintech sector
• Role of platforms and ecosystems
• Role of different technologies (e.g. AI, blockchain, robot advisor)
• Fintech and Green Fintech applications that contribute to the achievement of environmental challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
• Role of regulation and its effects (push or pull?)
Possibility of publication
The best contributions can be submitted to the journal:
• Journal of Financial Management, Markets and Institutions (JFMMI)