The pandemic has accelerated existing digitalisation trends in banking, giving banks more justification for not only closing branches but also consolidating. Many European banks struggled over the past decade to meet capital requirements introduced after the financial crisis. Consolidation through mergers and acquisitions is well underway, with the blessings of governments and regulators that view it as a means to streamline the financial sector and strengthen its profitability and resilience.
The UK’s economy showed promising signs of recovery during the fourth quarter of 2020 but not enough to compensate for a dismal year, which, with its annual 9.9-percent contraction, broke a 300-year record and clocked in among the G7’s worst economic performances. Although 2021 is getting off to a slow start with new lockdown measures, increased vaccination and more consumer spending may fuel a vigorous rebound later in the year.
Financial markets are among the fastest-moving markets around. People and organizations need to know where their money is, what it’s doing for them, and whether it’s at risk, on a moment-by-moment basis. Yet banks and other financial services organizations are often well-established, even venerable, with their names and reputations a vital tool in their ability to prosper.
The New Swiss Rules for International Financial-Services Providers Having Clients in Switzerland and Producers of Financial Instruments for the Swiss Market
With the introduction of the Financial Services Act (FinSA) in Switzerland, the regulatory noose is tightening for international providers of financial services to Swiss clients. Although FinSA will not be fully implemented until January 1, 2020, preparations are well underway, and affected providers will need to study up on the new rules to ensure they are in full compliance—or face punishing penalties.
The Illusion of Stability Gives Way to the Reality of Change in Capital Markets: Introducing Scotland’s New Stock Exchange
Impact investing, which places social and environmental goals as equal partners with risk and reward, is continuing to reshape the financial sector worldwide. One example is the new impact-focused Scottish Stock Exchange, which will require companies seeking to list to meet the demands of today’s socially conscious investor. Capital markets are in a state of flux within a changing world, and it is incumbent upon all financial-sector players to face this reality.
Although the GDPR—designed to augment consumers’ data protection and privacy—is the brainchild of the Council of the European Union and European Parliament, its reach extends far beyond Europe. In the United States, it is no longer a choice but a must for financial firms to adopt stricter consumer-data-protection measures. The costs of not doing so far outweigh the costs of compliance; regulators expect data security, and so do customers.
Despite the record-breaking highs achieved by US stock markets, 2018 is ending with virtually all those gains wiped out. And it’s not just the United States that has suffered. Germany’s DAX, the United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 and Japan’s Nikkei 225 are all ending the year firmly in the red.
Successful banks know who the boss is: the customer. And today’s customers, especially those who fall into the Millennial category, demand fast, error-free service delivered seamlessly. Banks confronted by the formidable challenge of adapting to both regulation and technology are also finding that up-and-coming fintechs are adept at meeting the demands of bank clients. Banks, more than they ever have before, must listen closely to their customers.
As the landscape of financial services continues to change, it’s critical to stay ahead of the game. ATMs were groundbreaking achievements once upon a time, while more recently, mobile baking was the logical next step in banking’s maturation.
In the United Kingdom under new government regulation, businesses must report their gender pay gaps. The factors contributing to these gaps are varied, but as Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the government’s Women in Finance Champion, explains, closing them is a must to tap into the full potential of all employees regardless of gender, for the benefit of not only the workers and their firms but society at large.