Staying ahead of the pack

How financial services firms are planning to win

How are financial services firms looking to innovate? Firms are quietly transforming their businesses in anticipation of new entrants and disruptive trends.

What’s an innovative business? To the typical person, it’s a company in an industry like software technology, alternative energy, or biomedical engineering. Few would name one in financial services, an area of commerce with origins as old as the first currencies.

Recently 200 executives at banking, securities, insurance, and investment management firms around the world were surveyed. A quarter of them worked for firms with more than US$30 billion in revenue; most were in finance or operations. We asked what they thought was important to staying ahead of the competition in the next three to five years.

What we learned is that firms are quietly transforming their businesses in anticipation of new entrants and disruptive trends. Their response to regulation is both pragmatic and optimistic. They’re adopting new ways to attract and keep the best of a 21st century workforce. And they’re taking on digital initiatives across a spectrum of operational areas, with an eye to profitability, compliance, and a superior client experience.

Key findings:                  

·         Disruption is becoming the norm - Nearly two-thirds of executives are seeing new entrants impact their industry segment.

·         Banking sector seeing more disruption - Compared with the insurance sector, respondents in banking are 50 percent more likely to expect a major impact on their business from new entrants and disruptive trends.

·         Innovation is key - Eighty-two percent of executives believe innovation is very or most important in their current environments.

·         Regulation varies by region - Respondents in Asia and Europe were two times more likely than those in the Americas to expect a lot more regulation.

·         Areas deemed important for market success - Ranked in order of priority, innovation and new offerings; digital transformation; regulations and talent needs are most important.

·         Human capital strategy key to success -Talent retention (90 percent), right skills in the right location (85 percent), and talent governance (85 percent) are key strategies.

Staying ahead of the pack
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