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Technology takes the lead in 2018

Financial services trends for the year ahead

The Deloitte Center for Financial Services has once again published our series of outlooks for the coming year in financial services. And since this is the fifth time I’ve had the opportunity to post the announcement on our QuickLook blog, I thought I’d look back through the years to see what’s changed… and what hasn’t.

January 10, 2018

A blog post by Jim Eckenrode, executive director, Deloitte Services LP.

Threaded throughout our outlooks on banking, insurance, investment management, and real estate are topics related to organizational restructuring to drive efficiency in low-margin environments, using technology to better engage with customers, and driving greater agility and innovation throughout. Some things never change.

But some things do change. For our 2014 outlooks, the theme was one of growth. But concerns about heightened regulatory pressures, struggles with continued low interest rates, and the emergence of new payment options from mobile handset manufacturers were top of mind. This year, the narrative suggests regulatory stabilization (at least, in the United States), along with interest rate increases that have occurred and will likely continue in the coming year. And, as was also pointed out in the recent fintech report the firm produced in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, the adoption of new mobile payment apps has not exactly grown at the rate we might have expected back then.

Finally, some evolution. For example, in the 2015 outlooks, we first identified issues related to talent and reputation, along with cybersecurity. And in 2016, I wrote about “the rising influence of financial technology (fintech) startups,…the potential impact of blockchain technologies on not just payments, but trading and even insurance,…(and) the increasing power of analytics” on the industry.

Last year's 2017 Financial Services outlook post introduced everyone’s favorite demographic cohort (millennials) and their influence on the development of peer-to-peer financial services models in insurance and lending. We also noted that “the overall picture is less certain as the new political environment takes shape”… in Washington.

So, many new challenges have appeared since that first blog post. And more are to come, I’m sure. In fact, in the spirit of recycling old material, let me once again quote Voltaire, who said that “It is said the present is pregnant with the future.”

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What challenges and opportunities will the industry face in 2018? Read the 2018 Financial Services Outlooks.

Technology at the forefront in 2018

So what new ideas have emerged? What new twists on old themes do we see as we look to the coming 12 to 18 months? First and perhaps foremost, the influence of technology on the business is taking a much more pronounced share of the discussion in our outlooks this year. Whether it has to do with the emergence of startup financing companies in the real estate sector, or the shift in incumbents’ perspective of fintechs generally from disruptor to collaborator, a new source of energy and innovation is being introduced into our industry. Continued growth in, and implementation of, “exponential” capabilities based on artificial intelligence, cognitive automation, and distributed ledger technologies herald both increased levels of efficiency and more far-reaching impacts on talent needs. Overall, technology management skills are a critical differentiator, as firms move from tech developers to tech integrators.

Clearly, there’s much more that we cover in our industry outlooks for 2018. We hope you make good use of the content our teams have developed, and please make a note to also attend our upcoming series of Dbriefs web presentations that will provide additional commentary on our views on the coming year. Thank you as always for your interest in our work, and on behalf of Deloitte and the entire team here at the Center for Financial Services, I wish you a happy and healthy 2018!

Sign up now to attend our upcoming series of Dbriefs web presentations.

QuickLook is a weekly blog from the Deloitte Center for Financial Services about technology, innovation, growth, regulation, and other challenges facing the industry. The views expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and not official statements by Deloitte or any of its affiliates or member firms.

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