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Consumers increasingly expect competitive, cutting-edge offerings with real value from their service providers and will look elsewhere if their needs are not met.
In the banking sector, this has resulted in a variety of new competitors, including digital banks and FinTechs, especially evident in emerging markets without a more traditional banking infrastructure.
When considering what banking and investments could look like in the future, consider these four dichotomies.
1. Complexity vs simplicity
The financial crisis in 2008 resulted in a significant increase in regulations and increasingly complex compliance requirements for banks and investment houses, in South Africa and abroad. The upside is that the global banking sector is considerably healthier now than it was 10 years ago.
Regulatory and compliance requirements will not go away. Banks will have to show regulators that they understand the risks associated with technological innovation and will manage these risks in a way that enhances operational and financial resilience.
On the other hand, in a complex financial world, people are looking for simpler, more convenient and more transparent propositions. If businesses listen carefully to what their clients want, they can develop an offering that is relevant, timeous and competitive, underpinned with sophisticated digital platforms.
We put this into practice when our clients needed access to local and international banking and investment services. We introduced Investec. One Place™ in 2014, where we give clients access to our full suite of banking and investment services, both locally and internationally. It also now includes Investec Life that enables them to protect their life and lifestyles in One Place.
2. Gimmicks vs digital maturity
Technological innovation is imperative for any bank and another avenue to offer products and services. In future, quick fixes, gimmicks or ‘catch-up’ tactical projects will no longer be enough. The challenge will be for banks to invest in digital systems and innovations that will improve its overall efficiency and reduce manual processes, but also improve client experiences.
The EY Global Banking Outlook calls this becoming more digitally mature. It’s when banks have a clear idea of what they want to be and a deep understanding of how new technologies can benefit he business, its clients and its long-term strategy.
Quick fixes, gimmicks or ‘catch-up’ tactical projects will no longer be enough
A banking ecosystem of managed service and innovation partners will become more important than ever, not building a bigger and bigger bank.
3. Connectedness vs cybersecurity
A hyper-connected world enables people to connect, transact and communicate, globally 24/7. It’s convenient and easy. But it also creates opportunity and anonymity for criminal activity. The landscape has shifted from one-dimensional to multi-layered attacks, so it’s no surprise that financial crime, ransomware, money laundering, and privacy concerns often feature prominently in the headlines.
Cybersecurity and fraud prevention have become the top priority for banks. AI and machine learning have tremendous potential to counter cybercrime. Pattern detection algorithms, advanced analytics, and automated alerting systems make machine learning an effective tool to fight cybercriminals and protect sensitive data.
A hyper-connected world is convenient and easy but it also creates opportunity and anonymity for criminal activity
Of course, the other challenge is to find the right talent to fill these critical roles within an organisation.
4. Humans vs the machines
There seems to be anxiety in society that robots will replace humans in many areas of the working world. The truth is that automation frees people up to focus on more value-added tasks and develop new skills.
For banking, it means more online interactions and transactions. Branches will still exist, but mostly for advisory and informative purposes.
Investec’s high tech and high touch offering is a great example of how technology can support a personal client experience.
Our high tech channels, Investec Online, and our App enable our clients to get a consolidated view of their banking and investment accounts, locally and internationally, on one platform with one login. However, if they have more complex needs or want to speak to someone, for example about a non-vanilla home loan or an international investment opportunity, they can easily contact their specialist Private Banker or specialist Investment Manager. Our global Client Support Centre is also open 24/7 and fully empowered to deal with queries and requests.
Our approach to financial tech innovation has always been that technology should find new ways to make people’s lives easier and add real value.
We can’t predict the future, but we can continue to listen to our clients.