Financial technology, or fintech for short, is on a roll.While the exact definition for this alluring subsector can be quite varied, the term generally applies to those companies engaged in developing and deploying technology designed to make financial services more efficient.

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For example, golds spectacular run from below $300 per ounce at the beginning of this century to $1,900 in late 2011 was accompanied by the creation of numerous gold ETFs.

The most popular one saw a tenfold increase in the number of its outstanding shares.

Quite predictably then, the rising tide of fintech has spurred the launch of a new index.

This new fund, sponsored by Wall Street research firm, Keefe Bruyette and Woods (KBW) and the Nasdaq, will mirror the performance of the KBW Nasdaq Financial Technology Index which has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than eight per cent annually over the past five years.

Components of the index include large stalwarts including Visa Inc and Master Card Inc, in addition to many niche players such as the Lending Club which came public less than two years ago and has a total market value almost one hundred times smaller than Visa.

The fintech moniker became popular as a result of the proliferation of Silicon Valley start-ups aimed at disrupting traditional banking and financial services platforms.

Almost everywhere, the internet is rapidly changing the way consumers do business.

Just as has disrupted the traditional retail shopping mall, financial services customers are looking for technology to provide lower costs, faster execution and more intelligent processing of data.

Silicon Valleys answer to the quest for efficiency has been new companies such as Square Inc, which allows point-of-sale software tracking through mobile phones and Transferwise Limited, which facilitates a more efficient process for exchanging currencies across borders.