Financial services is the largest industry in the world that collaborates with other sectors.
It is made up of banking, financing, investment, insurance, trading and intermediation services, as well as financial utilities like stock exchanges, market regulators and interbank networks.
The traditional dominance of large conglomerates and corporations is being transformed by new Financial Technologies or “FinTech” (defined as “software and modern technologies used to support and/or enable financial services”). This creates an opportunity for new players to access the financial services industry, competing or collaborating with existing institutions. FinTech is driven by three main principles:
- Democratisation (financial services accessible to everyone)
- Transparency of financial services
- Improved customer experience
This is an extremely data-hungry industry, pioneering and pushing many enabling technologies like data analytics, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity, smart contracting and – as an enabler of all of them – space. The size of the industry, its penetration in many other verticals and the amount of private investment available, all combine to make it a very attractive proposition for new businesses and researchers who are developing space-enabled services and applications.
In recent years, the financial world has increasingly moved towards the so-called “Sustainable Finance”, a sector where ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors are taking into consideration in investment and decision making processes. Space technology in this area can make a strong contribution in increasing the accountability of companies. Imagery taken from satellites can be used to track the emissions of companies, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, for natural heritage protection, blue economy and climate applications to monitor risks of physical events. Nowadays, this technology is bringing very promising results.