Historically, many companies have gone through channels to communicate about services and products with potential consumers. Insurance companies are a great example of this, as they typically go through broker-dealers, agents or wholesalers. But in today’s world where millennials and younger generations want to engage themselves in the buy, exclusively going through channels is not acceptable. Ideally, these consumers look for an e-platform, an experience on their phone or the Internet in which to engage. They like to do the research themselves and like to make their own decisions. But for companies, providing this kind of experience to consumers is far more complicated than it seems at first.
For more than 100 years, not-for-profit credit unions have effectively provided their members with a wide range of financial services at comparatively affordable rates. However, they’re falling far behind in all aspects of what it takes to compete against large banks and FinTechs in today’s digital world. And, per our recently released report, Future Proofing Credit Unions from the Digital Onslaught, that’s causing credit unions to close at a staggering rate of one every two days.
To be fair, a good number of credit unions have invested in next-gen technologies like voice banking platforms and distributed ledgers, and made other moves to bridge the digital divide.
For example, Canadian credit union Meridian is launching a full-service digital-only bank named Motusbank in spring 2019. One Nevada Credit Union, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, and Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union have begun their implementation of a voice-first banking platform from Best Innovation Group (BIG). The following image shows other digital initiatives in the credit union space.
But overall, credit unions’ digital investments pale in comparison to their competitors. For example, our research found that less than five percent of credit unions in the U.S. have a mobile banking app. And the top four banks in the U.S. spend five times more on technology than does the entire credit union industry.
Credit unions’ move to digital is hampered by multiple factors including dearth of talent and relatively small technology budgets that make it challenging to decide on run versus change investments.
But the biggest hurdle they face is lack of an overall organizational IT strategy for transformation. Their intent to invest and transform is there, but disjointed. This siloed approach fails to create a satisfying omnichannel experience for members. A glaring example is Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the U.S. It faced multiple outages from December 2018 to February 2019, during which members couldn’t see the deposits in their accounts, the bank’s phone lines and digital channels, both mobile and online, weren’t working, and reporting delays led to inaccurate account balances.
So, how can credit unions stay relevant and afloat?
Share Costs with Other Credit Unions
We believe a solid short-term solution to delivering a better member experience is moving to a partner network wherein multiple credit unions mutualize costs. In this collaboration, the participating companies would share run-the-business costs. They might even co-invest in or co-secure funding for the latest technologies. One such example already exists: CU Ledger is a consortium of American credit unions that is exploring use cases for distributed ledger technology (DLT); and it’s already secured US$10 million in Series A funding.
A partner network with pooled resources would also create leverage for credit unions to collaborate with technology service providers. In a mutually beneficial situation, credit unions could share run-the-business costs while the providers could gain economies of scale.
Become Experience Orchestrators
In the longer-term, credit unions should embrace the role of lifestyle experience orchestrators. This means that they should orchestrate and integrate their offerings with those of third-party providers, serving as service and product aggregators to offer rich experiences to their members.
This could take on multiple shapes and forms. For example, they could integrate with a local car dealership and leverage data and analytics to recommend and finance purchase and lease options. Members would undoubtedly be more comfortable with their credit union’s recommendations than those from an unknown organization.
Future of Credit Unions
There’s no question that credit unions need to modernize their digital touchpoints to deliver experiences that will retain their members. The types of creative partnerships we outlined above will help them survive – perhaps even thrive – in today’s increasingly competitive and digital financial services industry.
Is your credit union undergoing some type of transformation journey too? Please write to me at [email protected] to share your experiences, questions, and concerns.
In the meantime, to learn more about the future of credit unions and the modernization journey they’re facing, please read our recently released report, Future Proofing Credit Unions from the Digital Onslaught.
Since the early part of this decade, when technology-backed disruptions started knocking on businesses’ doors, FinTech – or financial technology – transformation has been one of biggest opportunities for BFSI companies. But while they’ve consistently accelerated their transformation journeys, BFSI firms and the FinTech providers themselves have been impeded by multiple complex challenges. These include stringent regulatory requirements, exposure to cyberattacks, lack of customer trust, limited government support, and, most importantly, limited opportunities to refine and train their analytics engines in real environment.
The good news, however, is that now, even government bodies are starting to take up agendas to facilitate and foster FinTech innovation. Over the past two years, multiple countries, including Denmark and the Netherlands, have come up with their own versions of regulatory sandboxes to promote activity in the FinTech space. In addition to attracting a multitude of players looking to innovate and deliver FinTech services, these sandboxes have also contributed significantly to the overall business growth in the countries in which they’re located.
Lithuania’s FinTech Sandbox
Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at Lithuania’s newly-established FinTech sandbox through multiple lenses: what it means for the participants, how it will impact the country’s global services industry, and factors that BFSI and FinTech firms need to focus on to leverage innovation opportunities from these types of initiatives.
On October 15, 2018, Bank of Lithuania kickstarted a regulatory sandbox for FinTech start-ups and BFSI firms. The goal is to enable the companies to test their new products/solutions in a live environment with real customers, while Bank of Lithuania provides consultations, simplified regulations, and relaxations on supervisory requirements. After successfully testing their new products, the companies can implement them in a standard operating environment.
Key Highlights of the Lithuania FinTech Sandbox
Impact on Lithuania’s Service Delivery Market
While the Lithuanian FinTech market experienced 35 percent CAGR growth between 2015 and 2017, we expect it to grow by an additional 35-45 percent in 2019-2020. The FinTech sandbox will contribute significantly to this growth. Other drivers will include:
- A large, tech-savvy, and growing workforce with relevant skills and educational qualifications (e.g., advanced degrees in science, mathematics, and computing)
- Unified license providing access to a large EU market across 28 countries
- Favorable regulatory policies, including expeditious licensing procedures and regulatory sanctions exemptions (e.g., remote KYC allows firms based outside Lithuania to open an account in the country without having a physical presence there)
- Proactive government policies, including creation of funding sources (e.g., MITA), and streamlining laws and tax relief programs for start-ups
- A state-of-the-art product testing environment for blockchain, through the country’s LBChain sandbox, which is set to open in 2019
Here are several aspects of Lithuania’s service delivery growth story that we expect to see in the next couple of years.
- Delivery region: While service delivery demand will continue to be strongest from Lithuania and the Nordic countries, we expect strong growth in delivery to other European and SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) markets. This will be driven by players looking to hedge their post-Brexit risks of buying/delivering services from only London
- Segments/use cases: Most of the growth will come from lending and payments platforms, with relatively lower growth in capital markets and insurance
- Business model: While B2B will remain the dominant model, we expect a significant uptick in in “B2C & B2B,” due to increasing demand for a better customer/institutional experience
- Collaboration between startups and financial institutions (FI): Startups will continue to leverage FIs as distribution partners, but we expect significant growth in models where FIs partner with start-ups as customers or sources of funding
How Should BFSI and FinTech Players Strengthen their Own Growth Stories?
As BFSI and FinTech continue to walk the transformation tightrope in the everchanging regulatory space (e.g., PSD2 and GDPR), they need to focus on the following factors to successfully grow:
- Understand the need: Look across your existing and aspirational ecosystem of FinTech delivery, and zero in on key priorities (e.g., solutions, target markets, need for regulatory sandboxes) if any, to enable a future-ready delivery portfolio
- Establish your approach: Tune your delivery strategy to progressive principles such as availability of talent and innovation potential, not just operating cost. This includes prioritizing geographies with high innovation potential and next generation skills (e.g., Denmark, Israel, and Lithuania) over low cost but low innovation potential alternatives
- Brainstorm your scope: Build relationships with leading BFSI players and start-ups to share/learn best practices around efficient operating models and promising use-cases. This specifically includes liasing with incumbents operating in sandboxes to prioritize select use cases with transformative potential before testing in a real environment
- Get ready: Selectively rehash your technology model to simplify legacy systems, become more intelligent about consumer needs, and reduce exposure to cyberthreats
- Keep an eye out: Look for opportunities (e.g., sources of funding, sandboxes, and partnerships) to help you innovate, develop, test, or successfully implement solutions
The good news is that the push (or pull) towards FinTech transformation is in same direction for all leading stakeholder groups – service providers, buyers, collaborators, customers, and government bodies. But, because the least informed is often the most vulnerable, BFSI, FinTech firms, and companies seeking their services must stay informed and keep looking for opportunities and solutions.
To learn more about other key emerging trends in the FinTech space, please read our recently released report, FinTech Service Delivery: Traditional Locations Strategies Are Not Fit For Purpose.
Long gone are the days when consumers were welcomed with toasters when they opened a checking or savings accounts at their local bank. Today’s consumers don’t want toast-making capabilities from their financial institution: they want cheaper, easy-to-use Internet- or smartphone-based financial products and services, including payment applications, lending platforms, financial management tools, and digital currencies, all with hyper-personalization. Most customers are quick to make a move if their current financial institution doesn’t deliver.
So, what do banks need to do to retain their customers? Two things. First, they need to deliver the banking experience their customers are increasingly demanding. Second, they need to reconsider much of their service delivery location strategy.
What do Bank Customers Want?
Let’s first look at banking customers’ requirements for a SUPER banking experience.
Few, if any, banks have the ability to deliver on these requirements. So, they’re increasingly partnering with financial technology start-ups – popularly known as FinTechs – to meet customers’ expectations.
This brings us to the second thing that banks need to do to retain and grow their customer base: reconsider much of their service delivery location strategy.
Cracking the Service Delivery Location Strategy Code
With innovation and personalization topping customers’ list of banking requirements, banks can no longer rely on the same location strategy they’ve used to deliver traditional functions such as applications, infrastructure management, and business processes. Why? Because FinTech requires a higher proportion of onshore/nearshore delivery compared to traditional functions and co-locating all FinTech segments such as payments, lending, and capital markets in the same region may be difficult given varying maturity of locations across segments.
To help banks find locations for successful FinTech delivery, Everest Group developed a framework – presented in our recently published research report, “FinTech Services Delivery – Traditional Locations Strategies Are Not Fit For Purpose!” – to measure the innovation potential of a location.
With the framework, banks can evaluate all aspects of innovation potential, including the availability of talent with emerging skills (such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics), adequate cost of delivery, and providers’ financial services industry domain knowledge.
Framework to Measure a Location’s Innovation Potential
To develop our FinTech Services Delivery/Locations report, we started with a list of 40+ global cities with leading FinTech investment and market activity. Subsequently, we shortlisted 22 locations based on multiple criteria including overall investment, technology and infrastructure, and talent. Finally, we used our innovation potential framework, coupled with other factors such as maturity of the FinTech ecosystem and cost of operations, to determine the top locations banks should consider for specific FinTech use-cases such as payments, lending, and capital markets solutions.
Here are some key findings from our location strategy research:
- Banks may need to create a parallel portfolio of FinTech delivery locations, as they may be far different than those that are mature in delivery of traditional functions
- A location’s innovation potential (not its cost arbitrage or delivery efficiencies) is the most important factor for successful FinTech delivery. This is because the right location will offer depth and breadth of maturity across multiple financial segments, a vibrant startup scene, agile academic institutions, tech-savvy government, ample financing options, modern technology infrastructure, and friendly regulatory environment
- Locations that are currently regarded as nascent (e.g., West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America) may emerge as attractive alternatives as the market evolves.
For more details, please see our report, “FinTech Services Delivery – Traditional Locations Strategies Are Not Fit For Purpose! Plus Profiles of Emerging Offshore/Nearshore FinTech Hubs” or contact Anurag Srivastava or Anish Agarwal directly.
At the beginning of 2018, we forecasted a bump in discretionary IT services spending in Financial Services. And we predicted banks would spend heavily on technology. But we didn’t forecast as big a bump as is occurring, and the banks are spending more heavily than we anticipated. Why is it important to understand what’s happening here?
Who would be the beneficiaries of that spend? That’s why this spending trend is important.
At the beginning of the year, we said the beneficiaries would be primarily Fintech companies, in-house services, and non-incumbent service providers. However, given the amount of spending we see coming down through the pipeline, we don’t think the fintechs, in-house services and challenger service providers will be able to absorb the spend.
IT Services: Growth Trends in the Financial Services Vertical
Deep Dive Equity Research and Everest Group’s July 31 report, “IT Services: Growth Trends in the Financial Services Vertical,” reveals that the BFSI spend – particularly in banking – is poised to increase dramatically. In fact, we see a 15% increase planned for 2018 at just the top four US banks:
- JP Morgan indicates it will increase its IT spending by $1.4 billion in 2018.
- Citigroup plans to spend around $8.0 billion on IT in 2018, or about 20% of the bank’s expense budget, which is an increase over its 2017 spend.
- Wells Fargo plans a significant spending uptick in technology transformation and data management in 2018.
- Bank of America plans an incremental $500 million technology investment due to tax-reform benefits.
Initially, we believed that the incumbent technology service providers would not be the beneficiaries of the increased spend. But we now believe there will be a shortage in supply that the fintechs and new-age service providers will not be able to satisfy. We believe the only way to satisfy this shortage is if the incumbent legacy technology service providers of technology – which have been largely left on the sidelines to date – participate.
Yes, the underlying secular forces that we noted at the beginning of the year as growth obstacles for the legacy service providers (revenue compression, a strong DIY movement or insourcing and suboptimal sales model for digital projects) still hinder legacy providers’ growth. But we believe that the enormity of the spend that is coming through the pipeline will create a rising tide that the fintechs and new-age technology service providers will not be able to absorb.
Consequently, we’re upping our forecast for banking spend in 2018 and strongly believe the legacy service providers will be meaningful beneficiaries of this spend.
Disruptive forces – open banking regulations, growing FinTech ecosystems, and increasing demand for a seamless customer experience – are forcing banks to make significant investments in digital technologies.
To effectively compete, banks must move away from being perceived as physical structures that offer financial services/products to an ambient fabric that connects people and businesses. They must transition from a transactional, product-centric approach to an intelligence-oriented customer-centric model centered around customers’ journeys. Artificial Intelligence (AI), API-enabled open banking architecture, and cloud are fast-becoming the foundations of banks’ IT architecture.
In order to evaluate and measure how organizations are faring in their leverage of digital technologies, Everest Group several years ago developed the Digital Effectiveness Assessment model.
On the Capability maturity axis, we measure organizations’ presence on all digital platforms, the quality of their mobile apps and online banking capabilities, their activity on various social media channels, their self-service innovations, and their open banking capabilities. On the Business outcomes axis, we measure their digital prowess using parameters including customers’ digital channel adoption, the customer experience (based on mobile app ratings, website optimization, and engagement), brand perception, and financial performance.
Earlier this year, we used the model to determine the European digital banking leaders. And from a field of the top 20 banks in Europe, we identified seven: Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, HSBC, KBC Group, Lloyds, and Société Générale. These financial institutions have achieved:
- Superior financial performance: 17 percent higher growth in deposits, and 3 percent advantage in efficiency ratio in 2017
- Superior customer experience: Higher penetration of digital and social channels (e.g., up to 75 percent of BNP Paribas’ retail customers are using mobile app and online banking channels), mobile-based advisory capabilities, and personalized products and services. These leaders’ mobile application ratings are 7 percent higher than the other banks we evaluated.
- Stronger customer engagement: A superior user interface (UI), feature-packed mobile apps (e.g., BBVA offers 80 percent of the mobile features evaluated) and online banking platforms, self-service technologies across branch/ATM network (e.g., Barclays offers card-less cash withdrawal, bill payments, and check deposits through ATMs), and meaningful social media content.
- Higher business growth: Wider adoption of digital banking channels, superior efficiency ratios, adoption of an open banking ecosystem, and innovative product offerings, particularly through the wider set of APIs they offer.
These leaders have re-designed their customer journey to adapt to external disruptions by:
- Calibrating current customer satisfaction: Formulating a unique customer engagement model based on insights gained on each customer’s digital readiness and adoption.
- Benchmarking current digital maturity with best-in-class enterprises: Evaluating their digital channel maturity and customer satisfaction scores against best-in-class peers, and then tailoring their digital strategy to bridge the gap in their organization’s vision of the customer experience.
- Redesigning the customer experience: Incorporating human-centric design principles to address customers’ stated and unstated requirements and desires.
- Optimizing their channel strategy: Developing a comprehensive channel strategy to drive customer adoption and acquisition, and changing the business model to deliver digital experiences.
- Innovative product offerings: Offering personal finance management features through digital channels that are intuitive and simple for users. Other services include payments through multiple messaging and social media channels, and intelligent voice-based payment solutions.
To learn more about the characteristics of Europe’s digital banking leaders, and what sets them apart from the others, see our report: Digital Effectiveness in Retail Banking | Focus on Banks in the UK and Europe: Identifying Digital Banking Leaders in the Open Banking Era.
The meteoric growth in smartphone adoption, increasing preference for digital-first transactions, and mounting concerns over data privacy and the misuse of customer data are pushing firms in consumer-facing industries – particularly in Banking and Financial Services (BFS) – to make significant investments in modernizing their IT infrastructure.
One of the key focus areas is in digital identity (DI) solutions. And it’s a big focal point: the research we conducted to produce our recently released report, “Securing Digital Experiences in Banking and Financial Services – State of Digital Identity Services Market,” shows that the BFS industry’s investment in identity and access management services will grow at a CAGR of over 13 percent to reach US$5.8 billion in 2022.
But BFS firms aren’t focusing on DI solutions solely for data security-type reasons. In fact, they’ve found that having a robust DI strategy can also help them drive their digital transformation agendas. For example:
- Big data & analytics: DI solutions can help avoid unauthorized access to data and insights
- Automation: Automating business processes that access data from multiple systems require a DI solution
- Customer experience: Identity management tools can help drive a consistent omnichannel user experience
- Cloud: DI solutions help manage operational risk of unauthorized access to data on the cloud and digital identity over cloud platforms
- Internet of Things (IoT): Devices that interact with the digital ecosystem need to be uniquely identified and authorized for digital transactions.
A Sampling of DI solution Use Cases
With the emergence of data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), BFS organizations are quickly building their DI capabilities to ensure better protection.
Indeed, many banks are working in collaboration with government institutions to integrate banking and financial services with DI solutions, and are leveraging APIs, biometrics, blockchain, machine learning, and mobile technologies to allow DI solutions to become more secure and accessible. One example is BBVA Compass, which has been actively investing in the DI space through collaborations with fintech startups, hackathons, and establishment of dedicated firms.
Digital Identity Provider Ecosystem
From a country perspective, Estonia was one of the first to embrace DI. It implemented e-Estonia, which allows citizens to manage e-banking services that can be integrated with other e-commerce solutions, such as PayPal.
Increasing demand for DI-based offerings is also proving to be a breeding ground for new tech-startups, Indeed, the DI provider ecosystem is expanding well beyond the traditional tech vendors/service providers (HPE, IBM, etc.) and consulting and system integrators (e.g., Accenture, Deloitte, and DXC.) All these types of DI tech vendors are embedding AI and machine learning to enhance the capabilities of their DI solutions. For example, in 2018, Mitek, a DI verification company, acquired A2iA, an artificial intelligence (AI) and image analysis company that uses AI and machine learning to create algorithms that process checks, IDs, and documents.
While the current environment requires banks to evolve and actively invest in DI, it also presents them with a unique opportunity to reposition themselves as trustworthy identity aggregators/providers, as they already have secure systems in place to keep information safe. And some banks are already exploring the possibilities of generating revenue from DI solutions. For example, Capital One is one of the first banks in the United States to test if other businesses are willing to pay to check users’ identities with its DI products. And Rabobank entered into a partnership with Signicat in the Dutch market to offer such services as well.
Instead of treating DI as a problem, BFS firms need to embrace it to accelerate their digital transformation journeys, and build new business models to enable revenue opportunities. To further understand the major trends in the DI market, read our report entitled, “Securing Digital Experiences in Banking and Financial Services – State of Digital Identity Services Market.”
Everest Group recently conducted a study with 55 banking and financial services firms to evaluate their digital capabilities in areas including strategy, organization and talent, process transformation, technology adoption, and innovation. Here are the primary insights we collected from that study.
Investments in Digital Technologies are Increasing
More than 60 percent of BFS firms have invested in exploring the various use cases in cognitive- and AI-driven technologies. Typical use cases include helpdesk automation using chatbots and other cognitive capabilities for functions such as sales & marketing, data entry, credit assessment, and information gathering.
The AI Transformation Wave is Hitting the Front-Office
BFS companies are increasingly leveraging AI-enabled transformation in areas where there is significant customer interaction. So personal finance virtual agents, voice assistants for account servicing, voice-based payments and account authentication, and intelligent message-based account servicing are gaining traction. Not surprisingly, Millennials and a new breed of mass affluent (per The Financial Brand, this segment generates up to 70 percent of banks’ and credit unions’ total retail profits, even though they only make up less than 30 percent of the customer base) are extensively using these solutions for advisory and servicing assistance.
BFS Firms are Increasingly Emphasizing Their “Change” Agenda
Our study indicates that BFS firms will increase their digital investments by 9 percent in 2018. This is particularly driven by the need to change in response to the evolving regulatory regime, and customer demand for responsive and agile applications. For example, in the U.S., deregulation could pave the way to a shift in the utility space. In the U.K., the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD 2) has heralded an open banking revolution that forces banks to release their data in a secure and standardized format.
The Talent Gap is a Key Challenge for Digital Adoption
Although BFS firms are accelerating their adoption of AI-driven applications, they’re facing significant scaling challenges as digital talent is scarce and in high demand. The biggest talent shortage areas include cybersecurity experts to handle stringent regulatory pushes – such as GDPR in the EU – and those with deep knowledge of big data, without which enterprises can’t realize their full potential in enhancing the technical and functional capabilities of their internal teams on leading big data platforms.
To stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant in the market, BFS firms must invest in enhancing the five following capabilities in alignment with their digital journey:
- Strategy – Outline a clear vision, metrics, and realistic goals for focused and scalable digital adoption
- Organization and talent – Acquire digital talent through reskilling and retraining existing employees, as well as recruiting talent from outside
- Technology adoption – Adopt niche digital technologies at speed and scale with higher focus on AI, analytics, security, and risk
- Innovation – Continually source new ideas for innovation, and embed human-centric design in the organization’s DNA
- Process reimagination – Transform and automate internal business processes to remove inefficiencies.
The above recommendations translate to a customer-focused triple mandate of Experience, Efficiency, and Ecosystems (E3) for banks. The evolution from a product-centric to a customer-centric mindset requires an open banking ecosystem to orchestrate the lifestyle services that individuals or enterprises demand from their financial institutions at speed and scale
This metamorphosis will be challenging not only because of the complicated regulatory regimes and resilient legacy structures, but also the rise of non-traditional competitors.
Our banking analyst team just finished its evaluation of how the leading North American retail banks are doing in their efforts to create the best digital customer experience, and we want to share some highlights from this breakthrough research. This is our third year of assessing 30 of the largest retail banks. The premise for the research is to examine the new consumption context of financial services – where customers are demanding a SUPER (Secure, Ubiquitous, Personalized, Easy, Responsive) banking experience.
Our research assessed the functionality and pervasiveness of the banks’ consumer-facing digital interaction layer to help establish correlations with superior customer experiences, stronger customer engagement, and higher overall business growth.
Based on our research, nine U.S. banks (Ally Bank, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, PNC, SunTrust, USAA Bank, and Wells Fargo) and two Canadian banks (CIBC and RBC) have been featured as “Digital Banking Pinnacle Enterprises™.” These banks demonstrated business results that stood above the rest:
- Better growth – 3% higher growth in deposits
- Better efficiency – 9% lower efficiency ratio
- Better customer experience – 20% higher mobile application ratings
We have also recognized four retail banks as “Agile Performers,” as they made the greatest improvements in 2017. These banks include Ally Bank and Bank of America, both of which launched multiple initiatives to meet millennials’ customer experience expectations, such as virtual assistants for personalized experiences and voice-command enabled banking capabilities. USAA demonstrated best-in-class adoption of digital banking channels and maintained its frontrunner position in customer-centric innovation. USAA also joined the cryptocurrency world by adding the ability to display customers’ bitcoin balances. SunTrust made considerable investments into self-service technologies across its branch network and recorded strong growth in customer engagement on social media.
The retail banking industry will continue to make dramatic changes in the next few years. These shifts will require banks to have increased capabilities to deliver an enhanced customer experience whose key elements include:
- A paradigm shift from the current “product” mindset to a “customer lifestyle” mindset to combine, package, and offer products/services from banking and allied businesses
- Open banking and partner ecosystems leveraging APIs to integrate third-party services into the bank’s digital banking platforms
- Collapsing the siloes across the front-, mid-, and back-office to create a frictionless front-to-back experience
- Harmonized data repositories to enable a unified view of the customer
- A technology operating model that embraces automation, AI, blockchain, and cloud to enable the needs of the “new business”
We believe the current Digital Banking Pinnacle Enterprises have created superior customer experiences because they deliberately invested in their digital capabilities. But the bar for success is constantly moving, as the industry continues to witness rapid and significant changes. Nonetheless, our data from the last three years establishes an increasing correlation between digital functionality and business outcomes. Banks that are able to quickly adopt a human-centered design thinking approach, build usable experiences, and create a culture of obsessive customer focus will be able to better differentiated experiences, achieve growth, create shareholder value, and ensure market relevance.
To read all of our research findings, see our report: Digital Effectiveness in Retail Banking | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment 2018: Journey of North American Banks to Build SUPER Experiences
Capital markets BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is one of the fastest growing industry-specific verticals within the BFSI segment, with a market size of over $2 billion in 2016. Investment banking is the largest line of business within the capital markets BPO. Asset management, custody and fund administration, and brokerage are the other key lines of business in this space.
Enterprises typically look to partner with third-party pureplay service providers such as Cognizant, EXL, Genpact, Infosys, and TCS to remain competitive in the marketplace, and simultaneously manage their regulatory, risk, and cost concerns. But the BPO majors are facing stiff competition from specialist capital markets BPO providers such as Avaloq, eClerx, and Xchanging, which are more focused and have deeper domain expertise.
Against this backdrop, what pricing considerations should enterprises take into account when selecting a specialist or a pureplay Business Process Outsourcing provider?
What to consider when selecting a Business Process Outsourcing provider
- Specialists come at a premium: Specialist providers typically charge a premium price. The premium is nominal for low complexity processes such as static and dynamic data management, client onboarding, low value reconciliations, trade capture, and exception matching. Yet, it rises considerably for high complexity capital markets BPO processes such as OTC derivatives, syndicated loans, and alternative investments. Specialist capitalist providers’ expertise in niche and complex services gives them significant pricing power leverage over pureplay BPO providers.
- Pureplay BPO providers on the move: However, pureplay BPO providers over the last couple of years have moved swiftly, and gained meaningful ground in terms of building competence in high value services. This increased, more head-on competition has reduced the pricing differential to some extent.
- Pricing model induced rate differential: FTE-based pricing is most common in capital markets BPO contracts, closely followed by the transaction-based model. Typically, contracts with transaction pricing have a higher Annual Contract Value (ACV) per FTE, as the service provider agrees to share some of the buyer’s risk, and thus bakes the risk premium into the pricing. Additionally, the scope of work for capital markets BPO deals with transaction-based pricing is usually higher value and more complex, pushing up the average ACV per FTE further.
Pureplay BPO providers VS. specialists
Net-net, specialist providers, which at least as of today handle more high-value services, come at a higher price than their pureplay BPO peers. And, at least as of today, buyers appear ready and willing to pay this premium.
Enterprises in this space typically tend to value and favor specialists when it comes to finding a partner for their capital markets BPO operations. And they tend to be particularly selective, as most service providers – both pureplay and specialist— do not play in all the segments, but instead focus on building deep capabilities around one or two of the four key business lines.
Are you working with a pureplay or specialist provider in the capital markets BPO space? To what extent did pricing play into your provider selection? Do you think specialists have an edge over pureplay BPO providers in terms of capabilities?