Friday, 2 June 2017

Client Reporting – time to evolve?

From both a business and a vendors’ perspective, the term ‘client reporting’ is increasingly inappropriate and lacks the necessary ambition to be effective in today’s investment management world. This situation is partially as a result of the terminology that the function uses and the perceived lack of added value within the client reporting process.

Essentially, many of the reporting solutions on the market today are largely designed to solve existing problems, such as the automation, control and governance of the current client reporting and sales information. For almost every firm within investment management though, be they institutional asset managers, retail asset managers, wealth managers and even private banks, the focus should no longer be about client reporting; the emphasis has shifted to improving the client experience: ‘going digital’, using technology to improve the business model and enhance the client interactions with the investment manager.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

For operators, it should be ‘software-first’ to take the ATM into its next decade

As the ATM is turning 50 this year, it is at the centre of a massive overhaul of the retail banking landscape. Banks have to completely rethink the way in which they interact with their customers while the digital revolution is taking hold of the sector. The speed at which this change is happening is breath-taking: Data company CACI predicts that the total number of mobile app log-ins by banking customers are going to increase from 427 million in 2015 to 2.3 billion in 2020, while the number of bank branch visits is expected to almost half to 268 million per year over the same period.

With the banking revolution right under way, most ATMs today are still based on a ‘cash and dash’ model with limited additional functionality. However, with the right software strategy, they have the potential to become a cornerstone for the omni-channel banking world as the last remaining touchpoints for banks in the majority of local communities.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Cryptocurrencies could fix our broken monetary system

In turbulent and fast-changing times, it helps to know that some of life’s uncertainties are anchored to something solid and dependable.

So it will come as no solace whatsoever to remind you that the global currency system is anything but solid or dependable. That is one reason the world’s finances are in such a mess - but new digital cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could bring us back down to earth.

Let me explain. Once upon a time, the currencies we used to buy and sell things had real tangible value; coins were literally made from silver and gold. When governments introduced paper money and coins made from non-precious metals, they needed a proxy for their former value. So the so-called “gold standard” effectively made coins and notes into an IOU against gold, and everything remained stable.

But when President Nixon ripped up the gold standard in 1971, currency floated free - the dollar became a so-called “fiat” currency, untethered to anything except its central bank’s ability to print more money.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Blockchain is hot, but where’s the beef?

In spite of the hype—news of blockchain developments and its associated Bitcoin currency has become nearly ubiquitous—large-scale enterprises have been slow to adopt the emerging technology that promises to disrupt and improve a wide range of industries from finance & banking, insurance and real estate to cybersecurity and even music.

Companies have played with it; they understand what blockchain does and how it works. Their innovation labs have participated in proof of concepts (POCs) and may belong to one or more industry consortiums created to vet the technology, but they haven’t taken the next step and implemented the technology for any mission critical apps.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Transformation of the Insurance Sector due to the rise of Artificial Intelligence

The need for a business to offer their customers’ personalised, efficient and reliable service has never been greater. Today, society demands instantaneous communication with one another. Technologies such as Apple’s FaceTime, Facebook’s Live Messenger and Microsoft’s Skype allow communication around the world to occur immediately. This ability has meant there has been a proliferation in the amount of data being shared and consequently, it has become expected that businesses provide the same level of communication across devices. Businesses must ensure they connect with customers on a more 1-1 basis and that the customer is at the centre of its business, regardless of time or location.

The need for insurers to focus on customer service is even greater than it is within other industries such as retail, given insurance historically lags behind other industries.

In years gone by Insurers operated in a highly regulated, controlled and predictable environment. They knew that individuals chose their insurer based on their parents previous decisions. Once chosen, individuals would stick to that insurance for years, even for life, accepting new charges and changes in operation as it used to be too difficult and complicated to change insurer, as well as challenging to gather the relevant information on what insurance policy was best for each individual. This is no longer the case.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Banking on loyalty – a bet worth making

Data protection has quickly grown from being a buzz-word to a concern keeping board-level executives up at night.

As demonstrated by recent high profile cyber attacks, the cost of a data breach now comes in all shapes and sizes – from significant financial repercussions to damaged reputation and loss of existing customers. Ensuring this is avoided while improving the customer experience is the real tightrope challenge.

Friday, 21 April 2017

When you have to be right, right now

In-Memory Compute Grids (IMCGs) allow banks to process data faster and more accurately, too. Richard Bennett, Vice President of Regulatory Reporting for EMEA in Wolters Kluwer’s Finance, Risk and Reporting business, examines the latest trends banks need to consider.

You’re limping through the desert, dying of thirst, when you come upon an oasis with what appears to be a bottomless well. You can’t believe your luck. Then you drop the bucket in and discover that the rope tied to it is so knotted and twisted that it stops short of the water line. By the time you straighten it out so that you can take that desperately needed drink, it may be too late.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

India’s take on large scale payments innovation: ‘Leapfrogging’ to lead the pack

A new wave of payments innovation is taking place globally and emerging, high growth markets are the ones to watch. Encouraged by increasing customer demand, favourable regulation and unburdened by legacy infrastructure, countries in high growth markets are beginning to lead the pack when it comes to large scale payments innovation.

A great example of this leapfrogging trend can be found in India. As the country’s leading payments services provider, we are seeing first-hand that India is fast becoming a hub of payments innovation and disruption at scale. India is home to several of the ingredients necessary to encourage new technology to flourish and old systems to make way for new. Key among these ingredients are the increasing customer demand for digital payments, a supportive regulatory environment and a highly skilled tech market.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Preparing data functions for the 2017 stress tests

In November 2016, the Bank of England (BoE) published the results of its 2016 banking stress tests which measured the resilience of UK’s major banks’ balance sheet in adverse scenarios. These incorporated a synchronised UK and global recession with associated shocks to financial market prices, and an independent stress of misconduct costs. The stress tests also represented the BoE’s first annual cyclical scenario (ACS), a new approach to stress testing, which examines the resilience of the system to a more severe stress than in previous years.

In 2017, the BoE is expected to extend stress testing even further by including a biennial exploratory scenario which will test the resilience of banks to risks that may not be directly linked to the financial cycle. At a UK level, the 2017 stress test scenario also includes a severe level of stress, with substantial impact on UK residential and commercial property, UK GDP and unemployment. However, the impact could be even more severe if the economic and political challenges currently facing the EU and Eurozone were to be incorporated, such as high-debt levels, security concerns and Brexit.

Friday, 24 February 2017

NSFR implementation in Hong Kong: practice makes perfect

As banks in Hong Kong gear up for the 2018 implementation of the Basel III net stable funding ratio (NSFR), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has launched another study into its likely impacts that should both reassure the local financial sector and also serve as a reminder of the need for careful preparation, not least on the technology front. Here Amita Cheung, Regulatory Reporting Manager for Wolters Kluwer’s Finance, Risk & Reporting business, examines the challenges ahead.

The HKMA’s quantitative impact study (QIS) on the modified net stable funding ratio (MNSFR) is the third of its kind and part of a broader, multi-year consultation exercise on NSFR’s local implementation. While previous studies targeted so-called ‘category 1’ institutions - generally larger, internationally active banks - that will be subject to the full force of NSFR requirements, this study will gauge the ability of smaller category 2 banks to adhere to MNSFR, essentially a less stringent ‘NSFR light.’

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Fighting the friction: Bridging the gap in innovation between B2C and B2B payment solutions

The elimination, or at least reduction of all forms of ‘friction’, perceived or obvious has been an enduring human obsession, and great excitement surrounds new discoveries. One can only imagine the furore that followed the first ancient Mesopotamian saying to his or her peers, “Hey guys, instead of dragging this heavy wooden box across the ground…why don’t we attach some round things that spin to the underside?”

Fast-forward 5,000 or so years, and though the types of friction we are seeking to reduce have become a little more nuanced, the excitement of a new discovery is just the same. It’s what makes FinTech such an exhilarating industry to be a part of, as such discoveries and innovations are increasingly prolific. ‘Friction’ in our industry usually refers to the time taken to make payments, and ‘frictionless payments’ are those transactions that can be completed in an instant.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Boost revenues and cut wasted marketing spends with enhanced insight into digital sales

Digital marketing and promotion is now commonplace in retail banks. And with the rise and popularity of online banking, how customers consume financial products has also been transformed. Sales, the crucial link between the two, is also making digital progress too. The top ten banks across the UK, US and Australia now offer digital applications for 6 in 10 personal banking products. The ever-growing power of the internet makes the need for this integration of digital – and the opportunity it presents – obvious.

While substantial progress has been made it also shows there is still room for improvement. And this is especially true when it comes to digital sales. For example, retail banks are behind when it comes to the sharp rise in smartphone use, and the potential for mobile as a sales channel. Despite the availability of online digital applications, only 9% of personal banking products in the UK can be applied for using a mobile device. With two-thirds of UK adults now owning a smartphone, there is every reason to forge ahead in this area.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

What will the loan industry look like in 2017?

2016 was a busy year for the UK lending industry. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) continued to tighten regulation, while consumer credit grew at its fastest rate since before the financial crash. Sarah Jackson, Director, Equiniti Pancredit, looks ahead at the trends and technologies that will shape the sector in 2017

Outsourcing will get smarter

Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey revealed that not only is the use of outsourcing increasing, but attitudes among banks about how they engage with outsourcers is also on the move. Once seen as merely a cost-cutting approach – and make no mistake, this remains a significant motivator – service providers have widened their offerings to provide end-to-end solutions that offer a far greater depth of service support than before. More than ever before, outsourcers are becoming key business enablers that actively promote innovation. This is a key trend that will continue to shape the industry in 2017.