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Faculty of Science

Toronto has what it takes to be a global FinTech hub and advance its financial services sector. The sector however faces several challenges related to attracting and retaining highly skilled talent that combine the need for financial and digital skills and which will ensure sustainable growth and development of the industry.

In response to this need, Ryerson University recently released key findings of a research study to address several challenges facing Toronto’s FinTech sector at a dissemination event on May 24th, 2017. This research has been supported by the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund (OHCRIF) and developed in consultation with the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA), a unique, public–private partnership dedicated to growing Toronto region’s financial services cluster and building it as a “top ten” global financial services centre. This collaboration brought together several stakeholders, including Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management, the Faculty of Science and the Ryerson Career Centre. At the event, more than 30 like-minded people from a wide variety of backgrounds convened to  examine the future of FinTech and how to leverage various opportunities to help build a stronger future for the field, and to develop its talent pool.

The findings presented by Dr. Amir Mojtahedi, the post-doctoral Fellow who conducted the research for the project, shed light on local and international FinTech talent-related initiatives as he explored findings from various FinTech hubs including New York, London, Toronto, Singapore and San Francisco. He also presented findings from qualitative interviews from across the FinTech industry, including leaders in banks and start-ups, as well as recent graduates working in the field, who shared their perspectives on the FinTech talent challenges in Toronto.

At the event, Dr. Imogen Coe, Dean of the Faculty of Science and academic lead in the research project, spoke about how Ryerson graduates from computer science and mathematics already have many of the skills required for success in the field but could benefit from additional skills-preparation based on a deeper understanding of the needs of the sector. “We wanted to understand how to better prepare and equip our students so they are empowered to build their careers in all sectors, including FinTech, where the opportunities for good jobs and the needs of the industry are significant,” said Imogen.

Guest speaker Sashya D’Souza, Vice President of the Centre for Excellence in Financial Services Education of TFSA, spoke about the value of this initiative. According to D’Souza, this partnership is important in addressing the talent shortage and aligns with TFSA’s efforts. She also emphasized the value of the recommendations that this project brings especially as they are being addressed by academia which results in more engagement from post-secondary institutions to support TFSA’s mandate.

Participants, from both industry and Ryerson University, then had a chance to engage in an interactive and lively discussion. They valued the multiple recommendations that were presented, as they continuously look to improve the talent base to advance Toronto’s FinTech sector. There was also a general agreement that this type of open discussion will need to continue, and that developing such dialogue is key in bridging the gap between industry and academia to strengthen Toronto’s FinTech talent. In the next phase of the project, Ryerson will develop its own response to the challenges identified by the industry through a university programs review as well as pilot engagement activities for students and industry to better align talent with the sector’s needs.

For further information about this ongoing project at Ryerson or to get involved with the pilot engagement activities, contact: M. Adnan Syed, Manager, Research Programs, Partnerships & Strategic Initiatives, Faculty of Science, Ryerson University: