A survey by Accenture has found that almost half of the world's biggest banks have no directors with any technology experience on their board.
The absence of tech know-how is all the more striking given that issues like digital disruption and cyber security have grown in strategic importance while in investment in technology continues to rise - global spending on fintech trebled during 2014 to reaching $12 billion.
The study of 109 global banks totted up the number of directors with either senior technology experience at a company (such as Chief Information Officer) or senior experience (such as a non-executive directorship) at a technology company and found that just 6% fulfilled this criteria.
“If your main competition now comes from financial technology companies and not banks and the biggest threat you face is cyber security, then technology has become so ingrained in your business that you really need to know something about it,” said Richard Lumb, head of financial services at Accenture, speaking to the Financial Times (FT).
The US and the UK scored highest in terms of proportion of directors with technology experience with 15.7% and 14.3% respectively. French banks scored just 3% while banks in Italy, Greece and Russia failed to register a single qualified board member..
The FT reports that the banking industry compares poorly to other sectors, citing a study by recruitment firm Russell Reynolds that states healthcare and consumer goods firms boast a third more technology experience on their boards.
Accenture's Lumb told the FT that banks should set up technology committees that feature board members, something that just 11% of US and UK banks have done. Meanwhile other UK banks such as Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have reportedly been in the process of appointing technology figures to their boards for some time now but have acknowledged that they are difficult to find.