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.
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.
The UK’s upcoming divorce from the EU will not come without costs, and no matter what the eventual scenario, those costs will be substantial and far-reaching, on both sides of the fence. UK banks already have a lot on their plates in the form of new-regulation compliance, but it is now or never to prepare for EU-27 inclusion after March 2019.
The implementation of the Brexit separation of Britain’s financial system from that of the European Union remains more loaded with questions than answers. Bankers are hoping for a gentle divorce, while the government of Britain is indicating a harder stance—guaranteeing a process that will be costly in more ways than one.
We know through experience that preparing for the worst is a wise strategy, which is why most financial institutions in the UK are currently banking on a “hard Brexit” scenario. No matter what exactly transpires after Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is officially invoked, hard work lies ahead, and plenty of it.