Category

Banking, Financial Services & Insurance

Wealth Management: Market Trends You Need to Know | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

When you outsource your wealth management function to a third-party service provider, you’re not responsible for handling day-to-day operations and client contact. But you still have a huge responsibility in making sure your provider is fully capable of serving your clients’ needs.

Here are five major market trends that are affecting the wealth management industry. Is your provider addressing them?

Trend 1: End of bank secrecy

As the global crackdown on bank secrecy continues, wealth management advisory firms have no choice but to quickly move from secrecy-led tax services to a more holistic and comprehensive approach to investor portfolio management.

Trend 2: Evolving investor requirements

There’s a very different advisor-investor dynamic with millennials than with baby boomers. The younger investors, especially those of the entrepreneurial class, are looking for a much wider range of services from their wealth advisory partners. Beyond tax management and planning, millennial investors want:

  • Access
    • Seamless access to wealth and investment advice across platforms and channels
    • Greater access to investment ideas relating to environmental responsibilities and social impact causes
  • A networking support platform where they can exchange notes about financial management with fellow investors, colleagues, friends, and social media, instead of solely depending on regular report and data feeds from their advisors
  • Passion-based investments that are not only used as a diversification strategy but can also yield high risk-adjusted returns. Popular examples we are seeing include wine, art, watches, coins, and cars
  • DIY, wherein investors are provided with tools and advice to perform their own research
  • Highly tailored investment strategies, e.g., for female entrepreneurs
  • Real-time updates and faster turnaround times for almost all processes within the wealth management lifecycle
  • Access to the specialized set of offerings, unconventional risk management strategies, and alternative investments funds wealth managers typically offer to just Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI.)

Trend 3: Robo-advisory platforms

Despite the robot versus human debate, robo-advisory platforms continue to gain prominence. And investors are increasingly embracing a hybrid approach where they can get low-cost advice from robo-advisors and leverage human advisor expertise when more nuanced investment decisions come into play.

Trend 4: The digital disconnect

A technology-enabled front-office certainly helps financial services firms achieve some of their efficiency and client service goals. But RPA in the back-office can make their operations even more efficient and effective, and analytics in the back-office can help them make faster, better investment decisions, and anticipate customer behavior with greater precision.
Evolving fee models

Facing diminishing returns, investors are increasingly demanding more transparency around the fees they are charged. In turn, the fee model is gradually moving from commission-based to performance-based. For example, some providers are charging their fees linked to how well they perform against a particular benchmark index or rate.

Trend 5: The compliance conundrum

Despite rising costs, enterprises continue to remain skeptical and cautious about outsourcing large chunks of the compliance function. They’re increasingly outsourcing some transactional activities, such a regulatory reporting and basic documentation vetting, to their third-party providers. But they’re still holding more critical services, such as due diligence, end-to-end KYC, and AML processes, close to their vests. And this guarded position makes very smart business sense. Because they are ultimately responsible for correct compliance, and because so much is at stake, enterprises should only consider outsourcing these types of processes if they have full confidence in their providers’ expertise and ability to effectively fulfill their compliance obligations.

What trends are you seeing in the market? Is your wealth management provider able to keep pace with your evolving requirements? How are they charging you for the services? Please share your thoughts with me at [email protected].

What Analytics Hot Spot Is Right For Your BFSI Business? | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

Enterprises that operate in the BFSI industry are the biggest consumers of analytics services. They realized earlier than companies in other sectors how powerful analytics can be in offering targeted and customer-centric solutions, exploiting the massive amount of available data, meeting dynamic customer demands with their expectation for real-time solutions, and helping them adapt to changing business environments.

There are four different regions around the world that provide analytics services to BFSI companies: India, Asia-Pacific (APAC,) nearshore Europe, and Latin America. Each has its own unique capabilities, characteristics, and value proposition.

To help BFSI firms select the right delivery location for their specific needs, we recently completed a “Locations Insider Report” named Global Hotspots – Analytics in BFSI.

Following is a look at the findings. To add context to them, we classify analytics solutions into four types based on their sophistication and business impact, as you see here.

What Analytics Hot Spot is Right for Your BFSI Business?

India

India is the leading delivery destination for analytics services in the BFSI industry. It has a large talent pool (more than 65 percent of the global sourcing FTEs in nearshore/offshore locations,) and offers high cost arbitrage. Because of these factors, a large number of BFSI companies have chosen to set up analytics Centers of Excellence (CoE) in key tier-1 locations such as Bangalore, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai. While both tier-1 and tier-2 locations support traditional analytics services delivery, and largely support customer, fraud, and finance risk analytics functions, advanced analytics services delivery is concentrated in tier-1 cities.

India is also seeing an uptick in start-up activity in analytics services delivery across multiple functions including customer, credit, fraud, and risk. Because these service provider start-ups can provide accelerated access to skilled resources either through partnerships or acquisitions, BFSI companies may want to factor this into their location selection strategy. In the PEAK Matrix evaluation included in our report, Bengaluru and Delhi emerged as “Leaders” because of their high cost arbitrage and significant talent availability. We identified Mumbai as a “Major Contender” due to its healthy mix of cost arbitrage and talent availability, and high maturity in traditional analytics services delivery.

APAC (excluding India)

Manila and Shanghai are the top locations in the APAC region. While services delivery is dominated by service providers offering traditional analytics services, a few locations also have a sizable shared services – or global in-house center – presence. The geography primarily supports finance and fraud risk management functions, and some companies are setting up analytics CoEs.

Nearshore Europe

In nearshore Europe, the top analytics services delivery locations are Budapest, Edinburgh, Prague, and Warsaw. While companies leverage the geography for both traditional and advanced analytics, advanced analytics services delivery for fraud and finance risk management is gaining traction, primarily due to region’s availability of high-quality talent and the ability to support work in many European languages. Certain nearshore locations, such as Belfast and Edinburgh, support high-end predictive and prescriptive analytics, not only because a highly qualified workforce is available, but also because of the need for advanced processes to be in proximity with business customers. Just like India, Poland is experiencing an uptick in start-up analytics service providers.

Latin America

Latin America is an emerging destination for analytics services. One of its key advantages is its ability to provide real-time monitoring and data analysis to the North American market due to its similar time zone. BFSI companies primarily leverage key locations in the region, such as Mexico City and Sao Paulo, for traditional analytics services across risk management functions such as credit and fraud.

Because of all that’s at stake, BFSI companies need to carefully evaluate locations for analytics services delivery against their specific business requirements. To learn more about the global analytics services landscape – availability of both entry-level and employed talent pool, market maturity, cost of operations across top locations, and implications for stakeholders including service providers, GICs, BFSI companies, country associations, and industry bodies – please read our recently released report, “Global Hotspots – Analytics in BFSI.”

Banks Increasingly Tapping the Extended Ecosystem to Reverse Their Fortune | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

To reverse their precipitous loss of competitive advantage and market share, traditional banks are increasingly transforming themselves from financial products/services providers into customer lifestyle experience orchestrators. One of the key levers they’re pushing to bring about this innovation turnaround is expansion of their ecosystem to include academics, regulators, FinTechs, telecom firms, and technology vendors.

Everest Group’s recently-released report, Guide to Building and Managing the Banking Innovation Ecosystem – Case Study and Examples from 40 Global Banks, revealed four distinct ways in which banks are working with the ecosystem to drive their innovation strategy.

FinTechs

This is all about exploiting the symbiotic relationship between banks and FinTechs. Serving as “enablers,” FinTechs are helping banks provide more choices to customers and expand the set of services and features in their current offering. For example, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) collaborated with WaveApps to integrate invoicing, accounting and business financial insights into its online business banking platform. This enables RBC’s small business clients to seamlessly manage their full business financial services’ needs — from banking and bookkeeping to invoicing — in a single place with a single sign-on.

Taking on the “enabler” role, banks allow FinTechs to gain access to their customers, data, capital, experience, and platform. This collaboration helps FinTechs avoid the challenges they face in scaling their services independently.

Banks and FinTechs are also combining their unique strengths to solve specific business/customer issues in co-branded partnerships. As the banking industry moves towards lifestyle orchestration services, banks need to launch products that cut across industries such as travel & hospitality, manufacturing, and retail & CPG. This can be achieved by meaningful cross-industry collaborations like the one between Citi and Lazada Group, an e-Commerce site in Southeast Asia. The partnership allows Citi card holders to enjoy a discount of up to 15 percent on selected days when shopping on Lazada, while shoppers who sign up for a new Citi credit card receive additional discounts on Lazada. The move drives growth in Citi’s cards business via increased customer loyalty.

Internal innovation

To build their internal innovation ecosystem, banks are conducting hackathons and establishing digital R&D hubs that help them retain talent and bridge the digital skills gap. For instance, Bank of America launched its Global Technology and Operations Development Program – which is called GT&O University – to train workers for new and evolving roles related to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This has helped the bank not only upskill its workforce but also enhance its retention-oriented employee value proposition. And banks, including ING, are tapping open banking by providing external developers, industry innovators, and clients with access to their APIs. This helps them expand their offerings, provide new channels to serve customers, build new experiences for clients, and enable open collaboration.

Investments

Banks are closely tracking the innovation ecosystem through multiple programs such as investments, incubation support, and partnerships to avoid threats of disruption and competitive disadvantage. This includes investments across academic institutions, startups, and service providers. Interestingly, our research suggests that banks are likely to continue investing in startups via acquisitions or venture capital financing to accelerate their transformation efforts. This is evident from TD Bank’s recent acquisition of Layer 6, a Canada-based AI startup, which adds new capabilities to TD’s growing base of innovation talent and know-how.

Co-innovation

Through co-innovation partnerships with startups, consortiums, academic institutions, and technology giants, banks are jointly developing innovative solutions and technology. Leading banks are forming consortiums with other banks, technology firms, and other participants across industries to solve industry-wide issues such as cybersecurity, API security, and regulatory technology, building platforms and standards for the industry. For instance, TD Bank joined the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity to co-develop new cyber risk management technologies. And HSBC is working with IBM to jointly establish a cognitive intelligence solution combining optical character recognition with robotics to make global trade safer and more efficient.

To learn more about banks’ leverage of the extended ecosystem to drive competitive advantage, and details on the “why’s” and “where’s” banks are focusing their innovation efforts, please see our report titled “Guide to Building and Managing the Banking Innovation Ecosystem – Case Study and Examples from 40 Global Banks.

Apple-Goldman Sachs Partnership Could Steal Credit Card Market Share from Consumer Banks | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

Apple’s March 25, 2019, announcement of a physical credit card, called Apple Card, might initially seem like a strange step away from its highly entrenched Apple Pay digital wallet. That Apple and Goldman Sachs partnered on this initiative might also seem odd, as neither operate in the consumer banking space. But when you take a closer look, you realize this is actually a very well-crafted go-to-market strategy for both Apple and Goldman Sachs.

What’s in it for Goldman Sachs?

Goldman Sachs wanted to enter the retail banking space with a credit card. But the U.S. cards market is already crowded and growing at 6-7 percent, payments is a volumes business, and it would have taken a long time to gather significant market share if it went solo. And while the wallet market is growing fast, a standalone wallet is unlikely to make a near-term impact. Goldman Sachs chose the best of both worlds; a card in partnership with a wallet service provider. This helps it enter the cards market while getting easy access to Apple’s wallet user base and future proofing the business.

What’s in it for Apple?

For Apple, this physical credit card partnership opens the path to new customer segments, particularly baby boomers who are still more comfortable with a card and have been slow to adopt digital wallets like Apple Pay. It will also help Apple expand more quickly into geographical markets beyond the U.S., where it doesn’t dominate the mobile devices market. And because Apple sells the synergy of its ecosystem and ease of use, and is promoting the card’s intuitive design, simplicity, and transparency, Apple might also boost its device sales.

Apple Card comes with an EMV chip but there is no number on the card, which means that users will have to use Apple Pay to use the card online or for NFC transactions. The physical card can only be used at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals. This may translate into a higher fee for Apple Pay and explains why Apple chose Goldman Sachs over other banks.

Further, Apple lags a bit behind some of the other BigTechs in the war for data. For example, Facebook has massive amounts of social data, and Google has enormous quantities of location and search data. Goldman Sachs can help Apple with financial analytics, an area in which it’s not particularly strong, and having access to financial data surely gives Apple an edge in its marketing efforts.

All in all, we firmly believe that Apple Card is a sound and strong market entry and growth strategy for both Goldman Sachs and Apple. Indeed, this move could prove to be a strategic masterpiece in the dynamic payments industry.

What does it mean for BigTechs and banks?

We can expect to see BigTechs like Facebook and Google make similar partnering moves to enter the cards market and tap into the larger PoS network to attract new users with their marketing power and brand name cachet.

Banks need to move faster on their journey towards digital payments or risk losing market share to other more nimble companies or partnerships like Apple/Goldman Sachs. To accelerate their move into the digital payments space, increase customer satisfaction, and avoid making huge investments on their own, banks should strongly consider partnering with FinTechs, which can be more agile and respond faster to the changing market with the right infrastructure and technology capabilities.

What’s your reaction to the Apple/Goldman Sachs partnership? Please share your thoughts with me at: [email protected].

Apple Pay Timeline

Apple Pay timeline

Digital Brings Challenge To Direct-To-Consumer Model | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

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.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Future of Credit Unions: Do Digital Different, or Perish! | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

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.

Future of Credit Unions blog image

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

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.

FinTech Sandboxes: Good for Business Growth, Good for Countries’ Economies | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

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

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.

Why Many Banks Might Have to Dump Their Delivery Location Strategy | Blog

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog, Onshoring

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.

Big Increase in IT Services Spending in Financial Services | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Blog

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.

The Characteristics of Europe’s Digital Banking Leaders | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Benchmarking, Blog

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.

The UK and European banking market is characterized by heightened activity on account of multiple converging factors

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.

Everest Group 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:

  1. Superior financial performance: 17 percent higher growth in deposits, and 3 percent advantage in efficiency ratio in 2017
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

European Banking Leaders

These leaders have re-designed their customer journey to adapt to external disruptions by:

  1. Calibrating current customer satisfaction: Formulating a unique customer engagement model based on insights gained on each customer’s digital readiness and adoption.
  2. 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.
  3. Redesigning the customer experience: Incorporating human-centric design principles to address customers’ stated and unstated requirements and desires.
  4. Optimizing their channel strategy: Developing a comprehensive channel strategy to drive customer adoption and acquisition, and changing the business model to deliver digital experiences.
  5. 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.