Swift held its annual Business Forum London on 23 April 2015, where more than 1,100 industry leaders gathered to discuss the latest trends and innovations in financial services.
The theme of this year’s forum was ‘Harnessing change in financial services’, and the programme explored how the industry can channel innovation to address challenges such as regulation, the technology revolution, new entrants and changing customer behaviour.
SWIFT conducted a live poll among the Forum’s audience, providing the following key findings:
• 45% see regulation as the highest strategic priority
Despite acknowledgement that the financial services landscape is in the midst of a technology revolution, attendees at the forum still clearly consider regulation as the highest priority on their companies’ strategic agendas; 45% of respondents to the on-site survey said it had greater importance than new entrants (20%) and reducing costs (15%).
• 59% think the fintech sector will have a lasting impact on the financial services ecosystem
The large majority of attendees at the forum said fintech will not be the next dot.com bubble – indicating a strong belief in the lasting impact of technology innovation on the financial services ecosystem.
The comments of the Forum’s keynote speaker, Sir David Clementi, Chairman of Virgin Money and Chairman of World First, and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, reinforced the importance of a focus on regulation, while also paying attention to technology-driven change. In his wide-ranging speech on the current financial services landscape, he emphasised the need to “improve the customer journey”.
“My main message, beyond that of ensuring that the business is properly compliant with the regulatory requirements of the territories within which it is operating, is that good businesses will harness technology alongside a passionate desire to simplify the experience for customers,” he said. “All businesses need to do this. There is a threat for established businesses with legacy systems and long-serving staff that they will be overtaken by companies with new technology and young staff.”
Arun Aggarwal, Managing Director UK, Ireland and Nordics at SWIFT, said: “With London taking a top position as the global centre for fintech innovation, it is only fitting that the theme of this year’s Business Forum London was centred on harnessing change in financial services. Many of the discussions during the day focused on the impact of fintech, both the challenges and opportunities this sector creates for financial services firms, but what is clear is that regulation is still dominating the landscape. In light of this, the need for collaboration on financial crime compliance came across clearly, along with the need for an even stronger focus on achieving operational excellence.”