Company Culture

Expanding the open finance talent pool through inclusive language

Last year I had the privilege of attending the University of Oxford to study an MBA. It was a magical and enriching experience as I engaged with over 300 people of 65 different nationalities and from all sorts of backgrounds. What has really struck me, though, is that of all 300 of us that took part in the programme with the specific intention to discover new opportunities and accelerate our careers, there are only two of us now in the open finance industry.

Part of why we as open finance professionals get so excited about the industry is because we know how vast the potential is to add real value to people’s lives. We also understand how important cross-sector collaboration is in realising this potential. 

But, if this is to be achieved, we’re going to have to attract people with different backgrounds to the industry. So… how do we expand the talent pool?

As an industry, we have been fortunate to have a group of extremely smart and experienced payments professionals pioneer open finance. However, as brilliant as they are, we sometimes find that years of payments-specific terminology and a deep understanding of the ecosystem results in a conversation that is hard to follow, engage with or contribute to for outsiders. Having been asked a number of times over the last few months what I do, and often been met with somewhat perplexed stares when I respond with “I work in open finance”, I have first-hand experience of the lack of inherent inclusivity the space perpetuates. 

It becomes a lot easier to explain what open finance means when I drop the terminology and use examples. Instead of talking about ASPSPs, it’s a lot more relatable to talk about a bank. Instead of referring to PSUs and TPPs or PISPs, the content becomes more accessible when I speak of users and apps.

Here’s a translation I used for my parents which, believe it or not, actually worked:

Translated from “Upon a PSU’s consent, an ASPSP is mandated to share that PSU’s data with third parties (AISPs/PISPs) via API, in order to better service the PSU”.

Translated to: “If I sign up for an app that allows me to link all my different accounts so that I can have a single view of my financial situation, banks now have to share my information with the app if I ask them to”.

All of a sudden, the value is understood.

The importance of this inclusive language and easy-to-understand example goes way beyond explaining to my parents what I do for a living. In fact, I believe inclusive language will become a core pillar in reaching the potential of cross-sector collaborations. 

If we want new talent solving problems in different ways, identifying new use cases and finding novel approaches to adding value to consumers and businesses alike, we need them to understand the value that open finance can have in the industries that they’re from.

Personally, I am on a mission to make open finance more accessible, relatable and understandable. And I now have the pleasure of doing so while also putting my knowledge into practice as I continue my career with Ozone API, a Fintech in the open finance space.

Explore open roles at Ozone API

Connect with Warren Handley on LinkedIn

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