Fast 5

Driving Innovation |  Dexter Cousins

Fast 5 Dexter Cousins

 

Fast 5 with Dexter Cousins, Founder, Tier One People 

The speed of financial technology is constantly evolving and highlights the importance for organisations and their leaders to foster a culture of innovation. We chatted to Dexter and see what else he had to say...

Q1. Which bank or FI organisation do you think is driving innovation successfully?

Revolut - their execution so far has been flawless. The rate at which they ship new products and features is unlike anything we have seen in banking and financial services. They are more like Amazon than a bank. The focus on building a financial super app has set a really high bar for other fintech and banking apps, from a customer perspective it is a highly compelling offering. It's an exciting time for Revolut in Australia as they go down the path of a banking license and launch new features like share trading and their business accounts. 

Q2.What do you see as key factors for leaders to foster an innovative environment?

Allow mistakes to happen. We hear a lot of rhetoric around failure and no fear of failure in banks. But in reality we find the vast majority of banking leaders won't tolerate mistakes, let alone failure. Employees who make mistakes in a large bank are usually punished through a lack of promotion, no bonus etc. This type of leadership fosters a culture of fear where mistakes are hidden and people blame on another. In a Fintech mistakes are tolerated and considered an essential part of the innovation process. Failure is the very last thing on a Fintech's mind. It is crucial banking leaders make the distinction between mistakes and failure if they are serious about innovation.

Q3. What financial technology innovation has had the greatest impact within the past 2 years?  

Blockchain/Defi - On the surface there's not been much impact. But the progress that has been made in the last 12 months is frightening. And financial institutions are now very aware of the disruptive threat of Defi in particular. It feels like blockchain in Australia is where Fintech was in 2018, about to blast off. Blockchain is now past the fear and scepticism stage and has growing political support.

Q4. What is a financial technology you couldn't imagine living without today?

BNPL - There's been a lot of media attention surrounding the negatives of BNPL. But it has had a really positive impact on my personal finances, and many people in my network. I've managed to pay off my credit cards and have saved thousands in interest payments because of BNPL. From a business perspective, BNPL has brought lots of new clients to Tier One People and has well and truly put Australia on the global Fintech map.

Q5.What's the best piece of advice someone has given you for your career?

Get close to and follow tier-one people. This isn't a shameless plug for my business but it is in essence where our name comes from. I've been hiring leadership talent for over twenty years and while talent and hard work is important, nothing has more influence on a person’s career than the leaders they align themselves with during their career. If you want to get ahead in your career my advice is to find the very best leaders in your industry and build relationships with them. And when you get your opportunity make sure you do everything in your power to impress them. The best leaders usually get the best opportunities and tend to hire people they know and trust whenever they start a new role.

 


Dexter Cousins

Dexter Cousins is founder of Tier One People, leaders in Fintech executive search, and host of Fintech Chatter, Australia's no1 Fintech podcast. He's recognised globally as a thought leader in executive talent and hiring.