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The future of financial services in the United States

Aspiring to a higher bottom line

Powerful forces for change are reshaping global business and society. As a new human-centered economy emerges, the financial services industry faces a pivotal point in its evolution. By embracing the values of a higher bottom line, forward-thinking firms can play a major role in restoring public trust and cultivating a just, inclusive, and sustainable world without having to make significant trade-offs between profit and positive social impact.

The bottom line is evolving

Profits and people. Growth and goodness. Success and sustainability. These coexisting forces will shape capitalism’s future. See what it means to be part of a higher bottom line.

A new perspective on the future of financial services

Explore our vision for a more human-centered future of financial services, the forces driving it, and the massive role financial services firms must adopt to not just prosper in it, but define it.

Key messages:

  1. Financial services companies have a unique opportunity to address major societal issues and make new markets, without a significant trade-off in growth or profits. This imperative puts firms in a position to impact almost every corner of the economy, proactively rebuild trust, and transform not just financial services, but also our collective human experience.
  2. Seven fundamental forces are working across the broader environment, as well as in the ways value is created and captured, to drive the industry toward 2030. Together, they will build upon each other to amplify the challenges and opportunities ahead. They will also provide industry leaders with the inspiration to act boldly—not just to ensure a prosperous future, but to help shape it.
  3. As advancing technology expands the quantity and quality of data sources, access to data flows is becoming a critical resource. Firms’ ability to meet customer expectations will hinge on their access to and insights from these ever-increasing flows of data, now the fifth, and perhaps fastest-changing, factor in production. Incumbents will need to reinvent their data strategies to stay competitive, striking a delicate balance between sharing data with alliances and maintaining stringent control over proprietary information.
  4. As customers become more sophisticated and services more commoditized and disintermediated, they will increasingly act as competitors to financial services players. Customers’ needs and wants will continue to evolve, while new platforms will increasingly allow them to service their own financial needs. Treating customers as stakeholders and delivering on their expectations (particularly those of high-value customers) will put firms in a better position to retain existing customers and attract underserved ones.
  5. The marketplace of 2030 will be unprecedentedly fluid and interdependent. It will be marked by the continued emergence of new disruptors such as fintechs, digital giants, players from other industries, and even new entrants, each of which have distinct beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses. Innovative business models and alliance ecosystems will be required for incumbents to respond to these dynamics, create new revenue streams, and establish strategic advantage.
  6. Firms that move early to establish alliance ecosystems will secure significant advantages as they lock in the network effects that many-to-many value webs offer. When it comes to embedding financial services into other customer-centric businesses, firms have an opportunity to build a “financial layer” in the technology stack; nonfinancial brands can then integrate that layer into their products to offer financial services to their customers and build new companies based on it.
A higher bottom line: The future of financial services in the United States

Unprecedented disruption creates unique opportunities

Everything has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adapt quickly and prepare for new realities.

At the same time, the rebuilding of trust is a growing imperative, as the orthodox assumptions about the trade-offs between profit and service to our civic community steadily evaporate.

As we look toward the coming decade, financial services companies have a unique opportunity to address major societal issues without negatively affecting profits while proactively rebuilding trust in institutions. In other words, they can—and should—aspire to what can be called a “higher bottom line.”

Seven forces for change

As we look to a vision for the future of the US financial services industry in 2030, we believe that seven fundamental forces will drive transformational change and enable financial services firms to pursue a higher bottom line. These forces will, for the most part, accelerate and amplify the challenges and opportunities ahead and provide inspiration to think differently and be bold, not just to ensure a more prosperous and inclusive human experience, but also to help shape the future of financial services.

We see these forces coalescing across three domains—the macro environment, value creation, and value capture—to create a new, human-centric forefront for the financial services industry.

Explore what the future looks like and what it means for financial services institutions in the tabs below.

New roles for a new future of financial services

Financial services organizations have historically played a number of fundamental roles in enabling and shaping the modern world.

The seven forces for change discussed previously present financial services companies with the opportunity to perform these roles in more direct, personalized, and socially responsible ways. Moreover, they can amplify their roles to catalyze and accelerate the human-centric ecosystems reshaping the economy, in addition to addressing the many societal challenges that urgently demand new solutions.

Meanwhile, new actors are emerging as ecosystem catalysts with an interest in participating in the industry. These disruptors—fintechs, digital giants expanding into financial services, players from other industries, and even new entrants—bring different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks to the table.

Below, we look at how these actors must adapt to amplify, catalyze, and connect their roles to succeed in the future of financial services and create a higher bottom line.

Leading the way to higher ground and a higher bottom line

With our society at a crossroads, financial services firms are in a position to influence almost every corner of the economy and play a vital role in transforming it. Their ability to seize the emerging opportunities our changing world presents can have an enormous impact both on the industry and our collective human experience in the decade to come and beyond. Not everything will go smoothly—firms will need to prepare for the inevitable shocks that arise over the next ten years. However, if they embody the principles of a higher bottom line—placing people on par with profits, and actions over intent—financial services can lead the way to a more inclusive, educated, sustainable, collaborative, and profitable future.

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