Over the past decade, technological innovation has transformed the financial services industry, and further disruption in the near future is almost a certainty. Financial Technology (“FinTech”) start-ups are tackling many realms of consumer financial services, including mobile payments, foreign exchange, marketplace (online) lending, saving and investing, financial advice (robo-advisers), and health and life insurance.
The goal of this course is to understand the economic and technological forces driving this change and to learn how to harness them in a responsible way. The curriculum is organized by product areas within consumer financial services, focusing on those that are most active and most prone to innovation through start-ups: i) payments, ii) consumer credit, iii) saving/wealth management, and iv) insurance. For each area, we’ll cover the underlying economics, the technology, the public policy issues, the competition, and the potential for collaboration between start-ups and the incumbents. Note that we will not cover in depth the topics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain - if these are your primary interests, there are other courses offered focusing specifically on these topics.
This course is designed to be interactive, and is aimed to deepen your understanding of the economics of FinTech and encourage your creative and entrepreneurial spirit. A key component of the course is a collaborative team student project: each team will propose and develop a prototype for a new fintech venture. At the end of the semester each team will present its project to the class, and a guest from an NYC venture capital firm will join us and provide feedback.
Benjamin Rosen Professor of Finance and Economics
Stephen P. Zeldes is the Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Economics and Finance at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He served as chair of the school’s Finance and Economics division from 2014-17.
In his research, Professor Zeldes has examined a wide range of applied issues in both macroeconomics and household finance, including saving behavior...