AND Global: bridging the fintech frontier for inclusive growth

Khos-Erdene Baatarkhuu, CEO of AND Global

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The rapid expansion of the fintech industry has been a game-changer for financial services worldwide, offering unprecedented access to banking and investment opportunities, especially in Southeast Asia.

Khos-Erdene Baatarkhuu, CEO of AND Global, is at the forefront of this revolution, driving innovation and inclusion across the region.

AND Global, founded in 2016, has grown significantly under Baatarkhuu’s leadership, expanding its reach across 12 countries and employing 250 people. Baatarkhuu’s journey is as dynamic as the sector he represents.

After a solid start in the banking industry in Japan and his homeland Mongolia, his ascent to CEO of AND Global is a testament to his expertise and vision.

In an extensive Q&A with Daily Guardian, Baatarkhuu shed light on the fintech sector’s evolution, the strategies AND Global employs to promote financial inclusion, and the future of financial services in the ASEAN region.

In a world rapidly transitioning to digital platforms, the fintech industry has not just adapted but thrived by simplifying technology for the common user.

Baatarkhuu explains, “In the fintech sector, making advanced technology accessible to all is fundamental.”

AND Global’s commitment to user-friendly applications and educational materials ensures that even those without technical expertise can leverage solutions like peer-to-peer payments and neobanking.

AND Global’s role in financial inclusion is substantial, particularly in Southeast Asia, where many communities remain underserved by traditional banking institutions.

Baatarkhuu details a multi-pronged approach: “Our most effective strategies involve collaborating with local governments and financial institutions to develop tailored solutions that address the specific needs of underserved communities.”

Products like looms, an AI-powered microloan platform, illustrate how AND Global bypasses traditional credit checks to reach those previously excluded from the financial ecosystem.

The CEO also highlights the impressive growth of Thailand’s fintech sector, attributing it to supportive digital policies, the widespread adoption of mobile technology, and a digitally savvy younger demographic.

He suggests that the Philippines, eager to replicate Thailand’s success, should adopt similar regulatory frameworks and invest in infrastructure and digital literacy.

The conversation then shifts to the anticipated impacts of the projected 30.7 percent revenue growth in Thailand’s fintech sector for 2024.

Baatarkhuu is optimistic, foreseeing significant benefits: “This translates into more financial products and services for everyone, job creation, economic growth, and most importantly, financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked.”

Fintech solutions are not without their challenges, particularly in user experience. Baatarkhuu acknowledges this, stating that fintech platforms improve upon traditional banking by offering more convenient, accessible, and secure services.

He elaborates on the benefits, emphasizing greater accessibility, lower fees, faster processing, and innovative products.

The concept of embedded finance has altered consumer expectations, leading to a transformation within traditional financial institutions.

Baatarkhuu believes that these institutions must adapt to remain competitive, integrating financial services into everyday activities through open banking APIs and digital platforms.

Fintech innovations have also shifted consumer behavior, particularly in payment methods and security. The CEO notes the norm of cashless payments and the security enhancements brought by biometric authentication.

As the number of digital payment users soars, the fintech industry is preparing to scale by investing in cybersecurity, implementing data privacy regulations, and educating users on secure practices.

The ability to conduct financial transactions anytime and anywhere has reshaped the financial services landscape, empowering individuals and businesses worldwide. Baatarkhuu views this as a step toward global financial inclusion, driving economic growth and prosperity.

Reflecting on strategies for the Philippine fintech industry, Baatarkhuu suggests collaboration with regulators and traditional financial institutions, investment in literacy programs, and fostering innovation.

He also discusses how the Philippines can leverage the ASEAN fintech boom to attract investment and technology transfer.

Drawing lessons from markets like Thailand, Baatarkhuu advises the Philippines to prioritize regulatory clarity, invest in infrastructure, and encourage collaboration. “Collaboration is key to paving the way for a more inclusive and digitally empowered future,” he concludes.

Khos-Erdene Baatarkhuu’s vision for AND Global and the fintech industry is clear: to continue innovating, expanding, and providing financial services that are not only efficient and timely but also inclusive and accessible to all, thereby promoting economic growth and prosperity across Southeast Asia and beyond.