investment viewpoints

Global FinTech: trends to watch in 2024

Global FinTech: trends to watch in 2024
Jeroen van Oerle - Portfolio Manager

Jeroen van Oerle

Portfolio Manager
Christian Vondenbusch - Portfolio Manager

Christian Vondenbusch

Portfolio Manager

Beating the broader market was challenging for many active strategies in 2023, including our Global FinTech theme. However, Global FinTech has had the highest absolute return among its relevant peer group since our inception in 2020. We attribute the longer-term outperformance to our strict adherence to seeking quality growth at a reasonable price. Thematic purity is also hugely important to us, meaning we do not invest in the ‘Magnificent 7’.

In 2024, we look forward to a broadening of the market toward our fundamentally sound and attractively valued portfolio of companies. We discuss trends to watch for in 2024 – including AI opportunities in financial services and increasing M&A – as well as our macro outlook and portfolio positioning.

Please click on the buttons below to read our outlook.

  • Our Global FinTech strategy has achieved a 14.45% absolute return this year, driven by the solid fundamentals of our high-quality portfolio.1 The holdings delivered another year of strong revenue and double-digit earnings growth at very high and sustainable CFROIs (Cash Flow Return on Investment).

    Beating the MSCI ACWI index, however, has been challenging for many active strategies this year, including the FinTech theme. The MSCI ACWI’s gains stemmed largely from a handful of US mega-caps – the ‘Magnificent 7’ tech stocks. Not owning those names (in our case because of purity concerns) has hindered relative performance.

    Since inception, however, the strategy’s risk-adjusted return remains best-in-class within the fintech peer group. When compared with similar strategies, Global FinTech has the highest absolute return and the lowest volatility since our launch on 7 April 2020. We believe this results from our strict adherence to seeking quality growth at a reasonable price. We do not claim to be able to beat the market or peers every year, but we are convinced that our approach prevails over the long run.

    In this outlook, we will first review 2023 markets to see what contributed to performance and what detracted. Then we discuss trends and our macro outlook for 2024, concluding with our portfolio positioning.

  • Narrow leadership

    As the table below shows, quality has been the only winning style in the past year given the macro and geopolitical uncertainties. All of the others – e.g., value, momentum, low volatility – lagged the overall market.


    Comparison of style performance in USD in 2023



    Market leadership has been even more concentrated. In fact, the majority of the market’s return in 2023 can be attributed to just a handful of mega-cap tech companies – Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla2 (the Magnificent 7). The chart below shows the outperformance – almost 100 percentage points – for this basket of tech heavyweights, with Nvidia outperforming by more than 200 percentage points.

    While this is not our field of expertise, we believe most of this extreme divergence from the broader market is linked to Generative AI hype. From a risk point of view, as documented in our whitepaper AI in financial services (Sept 2023), we now see valuations of AI stocks approaching 2000 bubble territory.


    FIG 1. Performance of Magnificent 7/Nvidia vs. broader market

    Source: Bloomberg


    Comparing MSCI ACWI with the equal weighted and midcap indices also reveals the dominance of the Magnificent 7, with the MSCI ACWI market cap weighted outperforming the equally weighted index by double-digit percentage points for the year.


    FIG 2. Comparison of MSCI ACWI with equal-weighted and midcap indices

    Source: Bloomberg


    Purely fintech

    Our FinTech strategy remains overweight quality and growth at a reasonable price because of our strict investment process. Thematic purity is of the utmost importance, however, because we want to offer clients the strongest way to benefit from long-term trends driving the digitalisation of the financial sector. We therefore do not invest in any of the Magnificent 7 or other non-fintech, pure tech platforms. Purity to us means at least 20% exposure to finance, with finance being the driver of stock market returns.

    This high level of purity and resulting 40% underweight in the USD 50 billion-plus market cap range has detracted 15 percentage points from our performance relative to MSCI ACWI this year, while stock selection, corrected for this market cap effect, has been strongly positive. For 2024, we look forward to a broadening of the market away from this handful of highly valued, mega-cap companies and toward our fundamentally sound and much more attractively valued fintech companies.

    The next table provides an overview of our investment process, with a focus on long-term trends, purity, quality and sustainable business models combined in a balanced, diversified and high-conviction portfolio.


    From fintech trends to a high conviction portfolio

    For illustrative purposes only.


    Strong premiums

    While global M&A activity has dropped by 25% in the past year because of macro uncertainties, there is a long list of attractively valued fintech companies that have been acquired or are rumored to be. The targets have spanned the fintech universe – including payments and software companies – at strong premiums of an average 41% to undistorted prices.

    All payment deals (EVO Payments, Paya, Network International2) were of a strategic nature given the strong rationale for synergies from economies of scale and better in-market pricing. Most private equity deals were focused on the software companies given the highly recurring nature of their revenues and cashflows. We benefited from three of the deals listed below: Network International and Duck Creek Technologies from the target side and EVO Payments from the acquirer side. With current extremely attractive valuations and stabilising interest rates, we expect M&A to remain a theme, and performance driver, in the new year.


    Recent fintech M&A deals2

    Target company: Paya

    Acquiring company: Nuvei

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Strategic

    Announcement date: 09-01-2023

    Completion date: 23-02-2023

    Premium: 23%

    Target company: Coupa Software

    Acquiring company: Thoma Bravo

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Private

    Announcement date: 12-12-2023

    Completion date: 01-03-2023

    Premium: 41%

    Target company: EVO Payments

    Acquiring company: Global Payments

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Strategic

    Announcement date: 01-08-2022

    Completion date: 27-03-2023

    Premium: 34%

    Target company: DCT

    Acquiring company: Vista Equity

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Private

    Announcement date: 09-01-2023

    Completion date: 31-03-2023

    Premium: 61%

    Target company: ForgeRock

    Acquiring company: Thoma Bravo

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Private

    Announcement date: 11-10-2022

    Completion date: 23-08-2023

    Premium: 50%

    Target company: Black Knight

    Acquiring company: ICE

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Strategic

    Announcement date: 04-05-2023

    Completion date: 05-09-2023

    Premium: 41%

    Target company: Simcorp

    Acquiring company: Deutsche Börse

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Strategic

    Announcement date: 27-04-2023

    Completion date: 31-10-2023

    Premium: 42%

    Target company: Avantax

    Acquiring company: Cetera

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Private

    Announcement date: 11-09-2023

    Completion date: pending

    Premium: 26%

    Target company: Network Intl

    Acquiring company: Brookfield

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Strategic

    Announcement date: 09-06-2023

    Completion date: pending

    Premium: 65%

    Target company: Blackbaud

    Acquiring company: Clearlake Capital

    Private Equity/ Strategic buyer: Private

    Announcement date: 27-03-2023

    Completion date: pending

    Premium: 26%

    Source:  Bloomberg, LOIM, as of 30.11.23. Past performance is not an indicator of future results.

    Valuations disconnect

    Besides offering the purest possible way to benefit from long-term fintech trends, we will always be exposed to quality growth companies. Furthermore, the investment’s risk profile should be low, with future economic profits not yet discounted in current market prices, low dependency on external financing and a solid sustainability profile. We search for companies with a sustainable competitive advantage, above average growth characteristics and high profitability. We prefer our companies to reinvest their operating cash flows into growth opportunities to increase economic profits through time. As the graph below shows, the portfolio is 30% overweight quality growth companies.


    FIG 3. FinTech portfolio segment exposures

    Source: Credit Suisse HOLT, November 2023. Holdings and/or allocations are subject to change.


    From the latest characteristics overview, we can conclude that the portfolio is showing an above average level of profitability and cash flow while being internally financed. Both the revenue and earnings growth are more structural and significantly higher relative to the market, while valuations are disconnected from these solid underlying fundamentals. Quite uniquely, given the above average growth and quality characteristics, both current and next year’s earnings multiples are at a significant discount to the market.


    Financial metrics

    CAPITAL EFFICIENCY (trailing 12m) 4



    Return on equity



    Maintenance FCF



    External Financing




    (CAGR 2Y)5



    EPS growth CAGR 2Y



    Sales growth CAGR 2Y






    Dividend yield



    Forward PE 1Y



    Forward PE 2Y



    Price to Book






    Active Share



    Weighted average market cap (USD bn)



    Source: LOIM, as at 30 November 2023. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results; metrics subject to change. Portfolio composition represent a portfolio construction goal. It is not representative of actual, complete nor accurate past, present or future portfolio holdings. For illustrative purposes only.
     1 Harmonic average.
    2 Fund: LO Funds-Global FinTech.
    3 Index: MSCI World ACWI USD ND. Index methodology.
    4 Weighted average excluding outliers. Use of capital employed in case of negative equity.
    5 Weighted average excluding outliers. 


    Our disciplined approach has resulted in best-in-class performance among our fintech peer group since inception, with below average volatility. We cannot promise the best performance every year (e.g., we missed out on the hyper-growth trend in 2020). However, it is our strong conviction that in the long-run, investing in quality growth companies with expected cash generation that is not priced in will result in superior risk-adjusted returns for our investors.


    FIG 4. Global FinTech peer group comparison

    Source: LOIM. Data as of 29.9.23.  Past performance is not an indicator of future results.


    FIG 5. Volatility comparison with peer group

    Source: Lombard Odier, as of 31.10.23


    We are convinced that the investment environment has fundamentally changed, given the return of inflation and the end of ultra-loose monetary policies worldwide that started after the Great Financial Crisis in 2008.  Having a clearly defined, sustainable and profitable business model with a sound balance sheet will be key to outperformance. The easy times of attracting financing based on fantasy TAM presentations are definitely behind us. Applying a thorough valuation framework across the portfolio will also make a comeback as competition from alternative asset classes (e.g., high-quality fixed income or private assets) increases. The combination of the earnings yield and growth outlook has to be superior to those.

  • While recessionary risks remain, we expect that the US will avoid a severe downturn in 2024. The absence of credit excess among companies or households in the run-up to the rate-rising cycle has helped protect growth and shield labor markets. The global economy should benefit from rate cuts in the second half. Peaking yields and a soft economic landing should help support investor risk appetite, corporate balance sheets and equity markets.

    Of course, we do not underestimate the risks ahead: from geopolitical tensions and conflicts to volatile energy markets, US-China competition and a high-stakes US presidential election. The impact of restrictive credit conditions must also be carefully monitored.

    Such opportunities and challenges highlight the importance of a rigorous investment approach, active management and portfolio diversification.


    Which microforce dominates? Scenario analysis 2024

    Source: Lombard Odier. For illustrative purposes only.

    We prefer US over European markets, where both inflation and growth have slowed sharply and where the full effects of monetary tightening have yet to be felt. The transatlantic gap that opened during the pandemic owing to the outperformance of the US economy has widened further.


    FIG 6. Evolution of GDP trajectories

    Source: US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Eurostat, Lombard Odier calculations

  • For the Global FinTech strategy, we have identified more than 300 companies that benefit from the digitalisation of the financial sector. A snapshot of this universe is below. We perform a quality overlay to select the best business models and financial track records.


    FinTech universe of opportunities
    300+ companies / EUR 16bn average market cap


    Source: Lombard Odier, November 2023. Payments and efficiency providers represent one third of the universe. The remaining blocks together represent the final third of the universe. For illustrative purposes only. Any reference to a specific company or security does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or directly invest in the company or securities. It should not be assumed that the recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities discussed in this document. Holdings and/or allocations are subject to change.


    Our portfolio selects only the best quality stocks from the universe above. At the moment, the portfolio is tilted towards payments (35% of the portfolio) and efficiency providers (37%), with the remainder spread over the blocks in the middle of the table.  


    Payment companies

    We find payments very attractively valued, but we are selective. We currently hold 20 payment names, which implies we have an average payment company position of 1.75%. In our top holdings, several payment companies can be found at maximum model weights (we have 1%, 2% and 4% portfolio model weights). A combination of strong fundamentals, cheap valuations and the macro outlook puts this segment in a good position to generate high returns in the years ahead.

    Payment companies have had a difficult time, in terms of valuation, for the past 24 months. Rising interest rates, and fears of hard landings and the impact on future earnings estimates led to severe multiple contractions. However, the companies we invest in showed quarter after quarter that they were able to beat expectations and continue to grow revenues and earnings. We believe it is fair to say that the market has been too harsh on these names. We do not know when multiples will revert back to normalised levels for these companies, which grow 10%+ topline and 12-15% earnings. We do know that if they continue to perform as they did in the past, the expected return profile looks very attractive.


    Efficiency providers, innovative solutions

    The efficiency providers (B2B) are a bit more expensive than payments. However, strong and steady CFROI profiles make up for that valuation difference. We do not expect an extremely benign macro environment for software, but we believe pipelines will continue to be filled and the year ahead will be business as usual for most software providers. This would allow these names to grow into their multiples and show their sensitivity to the cycle. If multiples remain at these levels, this segment will also perform well.

    The rest of the portfolio is tilted towards innovative solutions (such as within cybersecurity and disruptive technologies). We did not chase hype in these segments and only invest in companies with good fundamentals. These add beta to the portfolio and provide it with extra ingredients to outperform the market.  Most of these companies are in their growth stage, though, so from a risk perspective we prefer to keep the model weights limited and diversify across the segments.


    Room for upside surprises

    Within the quality framework of our investment process, we have constructed a balanced high-conviction portfolio of 40-60 companies, which we can subdivide in three categories:


    Holdings and/or allocations are subject to change.


    Whereas the exposure to Upcoming FinTech (15%) has remained stable during 2023, we have expanded our position in Established FinTech (44%) at the expense of Enabling Technology (41%). After years of de-rating due to disruption or economic slowdown fears, valuations for payment companies have become too attractive to ignore, in our view.

    The opposite is the case for Enabling Technology, with valuations sometimes leaving no room for error. We have a barbell investment approach, diversifying across sectors (financials and technology), countries (a truly global strategy) and market capitalisation (avoiding the mega-caps and overweight mid- to large-caps).

    In conclusion, we think current attractive valuations combined with a renewed focus on profitability and abundant AI opportunities – along with inflation and interest rates becoming tailwinds – leaves a lot of room in 2024 for upside surprises.


[1] As of 14.12.23. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
[2] Any reference to a specific company or security does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or directly invest in the company or securities. It should not be assumed that the recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities discussed in this document.
[3] AI in financial services, LOIM (Sept 2023)
[4] PayPay Q2 2023 earnings call transcript.
[5] Lombard Odier 2024 Outlook (Investment strategy, private clients)

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Morningstar stars: The star rating is based on risk-adjusted performance. A fund must have a record of more than three years. Star ratings are graded on a curve: the top 10% of funds receive five stars, the next 22.5% receive four stars, the middle 35% receive three stars, the next 22.5% receive two stars and the bottom 10% get one star.

A rating alone is an insufficient basis for an investment decision. A rating is drawn for illustration purposes only and is subject to change. It is not a recommendation to invest in the Fund. It does not predict future performance of the Fund. There is no guarantee that the investment objective of the Fund will be reached.

For details regarding the star rating method: and Morningstar is not responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information.

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