Like many industries, technology and data-driven disruption has fundamentally changed the playing field across Financial Services over recent years. Whilst some sub-sectors have moved faster than others, it’s true to say that there is no part of the wider sector that is not undergoing digital transformation.
Each sub-sector is nuanced, however some key themes and challenges run through all of them, which we look at below. More specifically these themes span the need to transform legacy technology, leverage the power of data assets and advanced analytics, drive omni-channel and digital customer expectations, and adapt to a fast-changing regulatory landscape.
Customer expectation from retail banking has never been higher, with customers expecting seamless customer service, across channels, whenever and wherever they need it.
Challenger, or “neo” banks, that are laser-focused on the customer experience, have forced the Big 6 to change their game, with some even opting to go down the route of starting up their own sub-brands to keep pace.
In many, the idea of co-opetition is also prevalent, with larger institutions funding FinTech in order to drive the agility and innovation that they are unable to support from within.
It’s no longer good enough for large banks to simply act as a trusted repository for customer funds. Customers expect value adding services that justify their loyalty, and their data, and for their bank to help them do the right things with their money.
Open banking, and the movements of large technology companies like Apple and Amazon into the Financial Services space is also driving larger institutions to think more like platform providers, with the coming years likely to see further significant change in the dynamics of the retail banking sector.
Insurance, whilst one of the more traditional sub-sectors in Financial Services, is no less immune to disruption. Consumers and companies are expecting personalisation of products to individual needs, driven by increasing availability of data to enable a tailored service.
Advanced analytics and machine learning offer the opportunity to refine decision making and claims management, enabled by proactive and predictive models that can be created more cheaply and quickly than ever before.
The democratisation of data and changing consumer habits are allowing challengers to traditional players by InsurTech, and new sources of data from IoT and sensor information are providing new information and personalisation options, for example in the automotive space.
Regulatory and compliance factors remain a key part of the insurance sector, and the ability to maintain, manage, and leverage insight from records accurately and easily has never been more important.
Investment banking has been a sector characterised by technology being used to push the boundaries; making trading faster and more immediate, coupled with the automation and efficiency gains in the middle and back office processes.
However, the legacy technology here presents a modernisation challenge to many organisations, as does their ability to leverage data assets effectively.
Technology also has a key role in supporting the investment banks in becoming more streamlined and efficient in their operations; in helping the sector make the required changes and subsequently embedding the best operational processes.
From the development of their product sets, to how they are marketed and presented to the end customer, technology is driving huge change in the wealth management sector.
With the move to more robotic advisory approaches gaining traction, there are huge dependencies on data approaches and digital transformation, and like other sectors, start-ups are challenging the status quo.
When this is coupled with changes to the legislation in the UK pertaining to pensions and how individuals can manage their own money and the growth in achieving this online, digital tools and development are likely to continue to scale in the wealth management sector over the next few years.
How the wealth management sector keeps pace and balances its regulatory and advisory role along with creating and agile and quality set of online products, will be a technology challenge and opportunity.
Financial services are becoming more open, with customers expecting the institutions holding their money to do more for them, and being increasingly willing to move their money around to find the services that fit their needs. This creates a challenge when it comes to leveraging and maintaining customer trust, whilst innovating with products and services. Coeus has supported several financial services to transform customer experience, through digital platforms, and end to end process transformation.
Many financial services are looking to update their technology partnerships for the digital age, with a vendor landscape that needs to cover everything from the lowest levels of infrastructure, mainframe, and networks, to bleeding edge digital skills. This presents strategic, practical, and commercial challenges that are complex – from selection, to contracting, to governance. Coeus has award-winning approaches and skills in sourcing across all elements of the technology landscape and has supported many clients to rationalise multiple millions in cost, whilst also improving the fitness of services to the customer and colleague.
The value of data assets held by many companies in financial services is a key differentiator and provides a wide array of opportunity to improve customer experience, drive value, and monetise against new and innovative financial products. However, the scale of this challenge is often daunting, especially for established institutions, where fragmented data is prevalent. Coeus has developed a set of unique approaches to help develop not only strategies around data, but also to embed these into the organisation in a stepwise fashion, helping to realise a vision of being truly data driven.
Many institutions have built up large and complex legacy technology landscapes that are nonetheless reliable, and absolutely core to delivery. Transformation presents challenges on all fronts; commercially, technically, and organisationally. The rise of as a service software, AI/ML capabilities, and the wide array of services offered by cloud providers, cannot be ignored and must be integrated into a roadmap of change that simultaneously maintains service and readies for the future. Coeus has deep experience in technology and architecture, including roadmapping and transition, to support financial services companies to set out a vision and the stepping stones that will maintain currency
Over the last decade the number of regulations has multiplied several times over. Changes to regulations are also occurring more regularly. This presents a challenge to organisations in ensuring that processes and technology can keep pace, without the required updates consuming the ability of organisations to deliver greater value while remaining compliant. Coeus has supported organisations to understand how to balance and deliver portfolios of change, bringing in experience of complex regulatory environments, to assure that benefits can be realised across the board.
Richard was named 'Digital Champion of the Year (2019) by the Global Sourcing Association. His main focus is helping business and IT leaders, particularly in the Financial Services sector, drive strategic change using technology and data. His approach is multi-disciplinary and brings together experience from various roles held across business, IT and consulting. Recent achievements include developing the technology transformation, strategy and business case for a large financial services client.