Russian people are very much used to internet services in general, and, according to surveys, more open to online financial services, in particular, than most Europeans. Even currently, FinTech categories such as investment, wealth management, online platforms, reinsurance and others have growth potential.
Industry: FinTech (ICT)
Project volume: n/a
To date, the following trends can be observed:
- The development of online service or a total digitalization of banking: The largest banks have shaped the dominant model of bank-FinTech partnerships with start-ups and mobile companies. In Russia, mobile operators and FinTech start-ups are bank partners, not competitors.
- The growth of non-cash payments including cross-border trades: However, the starting point is much lower compared to that in mature markets. Since 2008, the share of non-cash payments with cards increased from 10% to 27%. Simplicity, security, the opportunity to receive bonuses and cashback are key motivators for customers to pay cashless.
- The emergence of marketplaces in various areas, including finance: Aggregators services or marketplaces are proliferating.
- Mobility – penetration of mobile financial services increasing fast, including mobile acquiring, allowing payments via smartphone.
- In future, the personalization of client relationships will gain even further importance, service providers will have to create and customize a financial product for each individual client.
Currently, the legislative framework concerning FinTech is not so developed in Russia, except the strict ban of cryptocurrency. But in the law and administrational field, a lot is happening, which has to be monitored carefully. Furthermore, Russia has recently introduced market protection measures which concern also the IT market. Since 1 January 2016, foreign software is banned from public procurement except when the Unified Register of Russian Programs for Computers and Databases (the “Register”) does not contain the software of the required category, or the software included in the Register does not meet the user’s requirements.
But there are still good business opportunities for Swiss FinTech companies in the private sector, especially if they provide innovative and user friendly products and services which are not offered by Russian companies. Many people do not trust the Russian finance system and prefer to use the services of foreign banks or other financial service providers.
Any Swiss wealth management company operating from Switzerland under Swiss Civil Code and reinsured by reputable Swiss Bank or reinsurance company may exploit the deficit for trust in the Russian personal finance and wealth management market. Swiss FinTech companies will have to adapt their product and services to the local legal regulation and customer habits. This includes but is not limited to a full-fledged Russian version of the software. In general, personal contacts with potential clients and decision makers are likely to take much more time than in European countries.
Detailed information material in Russian will also be necessary to convince your business partner. Further involvement of Swiss FinTech companies in the Russian market could include participation in venture projects, the establishment of consumer experience study centers, and partnership with Russian FinTech providers to unite local market knowledge and western best practices and successful business models.
If you are interested in receiving more information about this topic, please contact the Swiss Business Hub Russia to learn how you can benefit from these opportunities.