Year 2021 – when change in the financial world really happens?

The financial sector started its rollercoaster after the financial crisis in 2008 and is still in disruption. The rise of the fintech sector took full speed some five-six years ago and new players and business models are still challenging the incumbents in all areas; from mortgages to savings to fund management.

Today though, the bigger threat seems to come from other players. The “big tech” companies (Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook etc.) have entered the competitive landscape and fintech startups now often play the role as partners to the banks rather than competitors. Also, the interest in crypto currencies seems to get stronger, not only as an investment asset (with the soaring bitcoin prices!), but the blockchain technology also shakes the foundations of the financial world as we know it.

What will be the big challenges for the coming years?

Judging by the interest and needs from our clients, these are what we can see as the top areas for 2021:

• Achieving customer centricity in all channels is on everyone’s minds. We can all agree that the development is surprisingly slow – and that the players in the market seem to still be struggling with legacy and keeping all digital interfaces together. And this is happening some 20 years after the launch of online banking!

Core banking replacements is ongoing everywhere and a headache for many CIOs. The solutions are heavy, they sit on crucial information that no one dares to touch, and the systems are almost impossible to change. They also require enormous maintenance and support. Some banks have even decided to train staff in the ancient programming languages that the systems are built on, rather than replacing them, to succeed with a faster change.

• Now that almost all banks have built fancy open banking platforms that would make Apple’s app store look like something from the stone age – what now? How do we leverage this open space and build new business models that enable cooperation with fast moving fintech companies and even competitors?

• Most banks with some self-respect can tick the boxes of a SAFe implementation but has the agile revolution had the effects that everyone was after? How can you as a business leader within the financial sector leverage the investment and build the organization for the future?

Payments, payment, payments – probably the part of the financial sector that got disrupted first, when successful fintech startups took over important parts of the payments value chain from the banks. And the disruption continues. Now the national payments infrastructures are being ripped apart and there are a number of initiatives to build multi-national connections for international payments! And this process of building a new “railway” is one thing – but what will customers expect to find in terms of services in these new networks?

Hyped stock market makes trade crazy! The rumors of a looming crash are getting louder and louder. With simplified user interfaces and low barriers to trading, new and unexperienced buyers run a risk of being the losers of a burst bubble. Who takes responsibility?

Centigo has 20 years plus experience in successful change management and cross functional transformation projects.

We have worked intensively with our clients within manufacturing, with high street retail players and public transport companies, just to mention a few of the sectors. Our clients know us for being hard working, ambitious and basically good at “getting shit done” as one client put it. The fact that we work completely without bosses and focus on self-leadership and personal responsibility, makes us a modern set up where our consultants genuinely work with our clients' best in mind.

Within the FS-sector we have helped our clients in establishing and launching new concepts and products, we have defined IT-strategies and implemented agile ways of working, helped our clients with regulation processes, helped navigate the fintech-world, lifted our client’s knowledge within blockchain technology and even set up our own fintech business! Centigo’s collaboration across our offices in Oslo and London also gives us a wider perspective on the market and increases our knowledge and competence.

If you would like to know more about how we can guide and lead you in the FS industry into the future, or if you would like to discuss these challenges – don’t hesitate to GET IN TOUCH!

Ulrika Axelsson - Partner Financial Services, Centigo Sweden and UK