The Financial Services industry today sits at an unprecedented crossroads. While firms consider the adoption and integration of new technologies, they also provide the opportunity to re-examine critical areas such as product design, service delivery and customer engagement. For many traditional finance firms, now is the time to revisit models which may no longer be as sustainable in this new digital era.

Through technological advancements such as smartphones, wearables, chatbots, and blockchain, new opportunities to change the business model are emerging, helping to shift the sector towards providing a more consumer-friendly service, with personalised products, more cost-effective operating models and better data analytics.

The exciting opportunities that Financial Service providers now have to tailor their value offering can offer them a competitive edge, ultimately integrating these improvements across the board, while building their corporate identity, aligning their branding and product offerings to their corporate culture.

The entry of Big Tech players in the Financial Services sector has brought dramatic changes to the eco-system, bringing challenges to those firms wishing to operate in a safe, well-regulated financial services market. As firms scale and engage with an increasing number of industry stakeholders the resulting complexity can challenge the firm’s culture and ethos.

Some of the existing business and operating models, along with products and service design and human capital implications currently being assessed include:

Technology Advancements

Many new business models are emerging from these cutting-edge technologies, suggesting a bright and dynamic future ahead for the Financial Services industry.  However it is vital for executives to stay on top of these developments, in order to better understand their capabilities and to consider how they can be implemented in their organisations in line with the firm’s own risk appetite.

Digitalisation (User Experience - UX & User Interface - UI)

FS companies must employ innovative and technological developments which focus on delivering a deeper customer understanding and the experience necessary to acquire, engage and retain customers in a digital world. Rather than focussing on penalising customers, successful models will focus on transparency, empowerment and rewarding customers to provide enhanced UX and UI experiences thereby minimising risk of disengagement.

Cybersecurity & Risk

As with all emerging technologies, innovative products and services are not without their risks. This may include the compounding of existing risks that the firms already face, but it also includes new and emerging risks. In implementing any material business change, firms will need to ensure that their risk appetite and frameworks are considered advisedly.

Analytics & Big Data

Such new technologies allow companies to leverage data and insights in an increasingly seamless manner. The ability to provide a transformative experience by leveraging such enhanced data sets will permit Financial Services providers to tailor their offering to a customer’s wants, needs and desires. It is vital that firms have appropriate data strategies and the right processes around these strategies to benefit from these new capabilities in the future.

Robotics Process Automation (RPA)

The increasing costs of performing manual tasks is being driven down by the implementation of RPA. Such technology can also free up individuals to focus more on value-add support in the back and middle office operations. It is critical that companies identify the optimal locations to utilise these techniques in the most effective and efficient manner.

Machine Learning (ML) & Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The implementation of ML & AI in any company’s operations offers benefits across the company by ensuring uptime for customers 24/7 and the reduction of manual tasks. They can also provide deeper understanding of behaviours and root-causes of issues, thereby offering increased productivity. Firms should consider a roadmap for the identification of use-cases and testing, and for the implementation and enhancement of the technology over the longer term.

Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) & Blockchain

DLTs and Blockchain are increasingly coming into focus with a growing number of use cases, particularly those with an emphasis on resolution of cross-industry challenges. In order to effectively inform their own strategies, firms should consider participation in or co-ordination with relevant industry use cases, thus ensuring that they properly understand the benefits, pitfalls and outcomes of the technologies.

Why Grant Thornton?

Grant Thornton’s cross-functional, dynamic team of specialists can help with your FinTech needs. Whether in supporting existing market participants looking to innovate in products and services, or new entrants seeking to upscale their FinTech businesses within the complex financial services environment, we have the solution for you.

To best leverage these exciting new opportunities effectively, it is important that the firm takes a strategic, risk-based, and informed approach to identifying the best opportunities for its business and customer base.