Covid-19 has shaped and continues to reshape the financial services sector. Demonstrating a responsible response to the challenges became just as important as the business itself, in fact it became the business: “doing the right thing” became an imperative as the context aligned the success of financial institutions to those of their stakeholders, throwing into stark relief what it really means to be sustainable.
With useful data and information piling up in the financial realm, firms can use all the help they can get to more efficiently compile and employ it. Automation, which manifests itself in many forms, is a must for financial institutions. Natural language processing translates words into useful tools and applications that enable financial companies to be more compliant, profitable and sustainable and is experiencing increasing adoption in the financial industry.
COVID-19 has brought the centrality of the banking industry within the financial sector into sharper focus. Banks’ roles in shepherding their economies through the troubling times of the pandemic and beyond are indisputable; how well they fulfil their mandates will determine the success of the broader recovery in Europe and elsewhere. The road won’t be easy, and the banking sector needs to redefine and restructure itself to meet these challenges. Bank boards will have to take a more prominent role in this process.
2020 has proved to be an eventful year for ISO 20022, with SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) and other major market infrastructures opting to postpone the implementation of the new standard. Any assumptions that these delays will provide participants with a respite are unfounded; testing times still lie ahead, and internal project work should reflect this.
Despite being mooted more than a decade ago, widespread regulation mandating banks to adopt real-time cash-balance liquidity reporting has not materialised. With the exception of a handful of the world’s largest banks, few have taken it upon themselves to adopt these processes.
Fossil fuels have been the mainstay of energy generation for decades, but the move away from carbon-based, nonrenewable fuels is being driven by concerned citizens and governments, although nations are falling short of targets. There will be winners and losers during the transition to a carbon-neutral world economy, and investment-portfolio managers want to be in the winners’ group. What are the climate-change, carbon-transition risks that portfolio managers need to consider?
New players driving fresh business models, innovative products and increased adoption of the power of big data affect not only the provision of financial services but the fundamental structures of financial markets. As the tectonic plates shift, banks need to actively seek and embrace new opportunities. For the data economy to thrive, fintechs and bigtechs to provide client choice without affecting financial stability, and for crypto-assets to provide a viable option to traditional assets, regulators must master the art of balancing innovation with regulation.
The current decade has not been kind to Greece’s financial sector, which has been beset by one crisis after another. And yet, from the rubble, a fully digital bank has arisen, the first in the country. In our interview, Praxia bank’s CEO Anastasia Sakellariou describes what it is like to create a bank with a vision to meet its customers’ needs solely through digital channels while remaining completely human.
Problems have continued to mount for the German banking sector in 2019. According to Ronit Ghose, the global head of banks research at Citibank, German lenders are in a much worse position than their European counterparts—and that even includes Italy when it comes to profitability.
ISO 20022, the ISO standard for the interchange of electronic data between financial institutions, has arrived and is shaking up the payment sector worldwide. Migrating to the new system is voluntary, but the advantages of lower cost, greater fraud protection, increased customer satisfaction are quickly winning over banks and businesses alike, making its blanket adoption inevitable. What do bank managers need to do to prepare for this payment-processing overhaul?