Over the past year, we have seen the UK financial services industry undergo significant changes, with new regulations such as PSD2 driving innovation and changing the way we send and receive money. But what does 2019 hold? A number of key events are on the horizon that make the coming year an uncertain one for the UK’s financial services firms.
The European Commission’s Capital Markets Union Action Plan, introduced three years ago, is intended to make capital more readily available to businesses and encourage economic and job growth within the EU. Substantial strides have been made, yet there is much more to do, especially as subsequent events such as Brexit have altered the landscape. How far has the CMU Action Plan progressed to date, and how much farther has it still to go?
The stewardship responsibility of today’s bank has become more complicated in the light of climate change. Not only does a bank need to be cognizant of its responsibility to safeguard customer finances but also the future of the planet on which we all live. Green finance is an ever more significant influence on the decisions made by bankers determined to reconnect with the needs of society in more ways than just financial.
Automation saves time, cuts cost and carries out routine tasks with unmatched efficiency, so who wouldn’t welcome it? Possibly the people whose income currently depends on carrying out those tasks. Digitalization is guaranteed to strip out much routine work in banking, but it will not necessary mean fewer bank jobs. Roles will be reinvented so that technology frees human staff to provide customers with excellent advice and service.
The global financial crisis triggered many changes to the world’s financial system, including the ascension of alternative finance: financial channels, sources and instruments that exist beyond the traditional. Spurred on by the capital needs of fast-growing small and medium-sized firms and prospective real-estate buyers, alternative finance has mushroomed over the past 10 years into a multi-faceted, ever-evolving financial powerhouse capable of overcoming barriers to obtaining finance.
Financial services firms in the UK have more questions than answers about how Brexit will affect their operations. The uncertainty extends to London’s position as a global centre for dispute resolution, as it is possible that English court decisions will not be automatically enforceable in the EU. As the case study in this article demonstrates, English courts will endure as the best option for fast and fair resolution of international cases.
Banks were created to work for and on behalf of their customers, and by staying true to that purpose, they earned their customers’ trust that they placed the financial interests of consumers at the centre of their operations. Over time, and partly due to financial crises, that trust has been eroded, and only a root-and-branch reform will recreate the societal purpose on which ethical banking was founded.
All over the world, regulations have been implemented to protect economies, especially following the major recession 10 years ago. But unfortunately they have not always been executed in concert, leading to costly regulatory fragmentation. Banks have been particularly hard hit by the costs of compliance to misaligned regulation, with resources being drained away from more productive areas. But there are ways to mend these divergences, starting with cooperation between regulators.
Global growth is strong, but policymakers need to navigate uncharted waters and enact complex policy changes to keep the world economy on an even keel. The main risk lies not in economic conditions, but in economic policy debates too often distorted by partisanship. We have a chance to leverage new technologies to lift living standards on a sustainable basis—but we need a more level-headed discussion to chart the path forward.
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.