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Technology trends to cause seismic upheaval across sectors throughout A/NZ

09 Mar 2017

As 2017 gets underway, we’ll start to see some technology trends across sectors eventuate. We anticipate seismic upheaval across some industries, of which the financial services industry is no exception.

Increased digitalisation and an uproar of disruptive fintech technologies will throw open threats and opportunities from digital banks, fintech and regulation and shake the business landscape across Australia and New Zealand.

According to analyst group Gartner, three themes - intelligent, digital, and mesh — will form the basis for this year’s top ten technology trends.

In fact, Gartner predicts that blockchain, a type of distributed ledger in which value exchange transactions (in bitcoin or other token) are sequentially grouped into blocks will increasingly gain traction in 2017 because they hold the promise of transforming industry operating models in industries such as music distribution, identify verification and title registry.

We anticipate seeing more of the following in the financial services sector:

1.Data, Data Everywhere…

This year will finally see banks begin to wrap their arms around their most valuable asset: client data. While banks have spent millions of dollars to collect the data, few have dedicated themselves to fully operationalising the insights to be gleaned from it by using predictive analytics and machine learning.

In fact, a recent survey by Options Group revealed that to maximise the opportunities offered by emerging technologies, banks are expected to hire significant technology specialists, aimed at turning data into actionable insights.

Inevitably, new revenues for banks will depend on how efficiently banks can operationalise real time data so that it can be monetised.

2.Keep Your Enemies Close

Banks will start investing in fintech and digital banks that are currently disrupting traditional banking. While traditional banking has the distribution and greater trust (at least among older generations), fintech and digital-only banks have newer, more agile technology. 

While it’s indisputable that fintech and traditional banks represent a formidable force, they have significant culture differences. There will be some awkward courtships, but marriages will happen. 

3.Liquid Assets

Active asset management is losing market share to the index providers. Robo-advisors, offered by long-standing competitors as well as fintechs, pose a further threat to traditional asset management. Given a rising interest rate environment, which few active portfolio managers have experienced, we will see more automation through these robo-advisors, and consolidation in asset management as well.

4.Pruning the Branches

We will see an acceleration of bank branches closing down as customers increasingly adopt mobile and online banking. Most banks will maintain smaller, anchor branches to provide a reassuring brick and mortar presence versus purely digital competition.

As banks digitally transform and focus on costs, they will transition remaining branches to low volume/high value activities.

5.The Bank is Open(ing)

Regulation and market forces are combining to fundamentally transform the way that people bank. Competitive forces globally are seeing leading banks leapfrogging regulation to open up their systems and data, and begin to develop ecosystems of partners. 

The result will be greater choice and competition for customers, and the possibility of entirely new revenue lines for retail banks. 

So as banks begin to operationalise data, open up and partner with competitors and scale back on the physical world while investing in the digital world, we will start to see which ones will thrive in the new open banking environment.

Article by Mike Saxton, Senior Vice President in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ), Software AG

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