World Finance: How Institutions Can Prepare for the Future of Banking

The Future of Banking

Finance is being taken over by tech. Advances in technology are quickly transforming the industry, and may ultimately change the face of world finance as we know it. Banks and insurers used to have less motivation to push boundaries, as the highly profitable, relatively static business models they adopted worked so well.

Today, however, leaders of the industry who had achieved excellent results and brought advanced experience into the financial and business world are being confronted by a new wind of technologies that may disrupt their markets. Peer-to-peer lenders, crowdfunding, bitcoin, mobile payments, robo advisers, etc., are bringing about rapid liberalizing of finance and trade.

The current situation and forces have led to questions being asked about the future of finance. Unless the big names of financial services rethink their business models in some very fundamental ways, they may find themselves losing market share to today’s ever-aggressive innovators. These innovators have come up with ways to offer better products than traditional financial organizations as you would see below.

Modern Technology Use Cases in Financial Services

Technology is driving innovation in the world of finance in several ways. These include:

  • Remittance: This is one of the problem areas for conventional financial institutions. Cross-border payments have traditionally been a slow and expensive process, with some transfers taking up to three days to arrive. The blockchain enables innovators to challenge this process by significantly speeding up confirmation times and simplifying the payment process, all while reducing costs. Blockchain also enhances transparency in the financial industry. This helps to minimize risk and human errors.
  • Chatbots and Customer Service: Another issue that customers often face with traditional financial institutions is that they offer poor customer experience. Chatbots help to correct this, thereby improving client satisfaction and lowering cost.
  • Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Fraud Detection: Machine learning and artificial intelligence make fraud detection easier, as they help enhance efficiency through the mining of unstructured transaction and account information to give a 360-degree client view and facilitate faster transaction authentication.

How Traditional Financial Institutions Can Prepare for the Future

If the aforementioned disruptive technologies are an indication of things to come, then financial institutions must make efforts to move with the times by generating more innovative ideas to take their business forward. This can be done by:

  • Embracing technology: To ensure continued success, banks will have to adopt technology to keep up with the rapid shift in digital economics. Unless banks train staff on the use of and invest in tech, they may find themselves lagging behind their non-bank competitors in the foreseeable future.
  • Adopting blockchain: Financial institutions should look to take advantage of blockchain if they aim to provide customers with quicker and inexpensive ways to transact.
  • Staying social: Banks can improve customer satisfaction by not only providing engaging content but also by providing customers with several platforms with which to contact them and respond promptly to inquiries.

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ROBOS and Banks: The Dawning of a New Time

Will Banks Use More Robots

The use of Robo advisors is gaining prominence in mainstream banking circles. Clients have several options available to them when picking investment products. These include the go-it-alone approach where individuals are responsible for the management of their own portfolio of stocks, bonds, cash, indices, commodities etc. This option is best suited to professionals, or investors who understand the intricacies of the financial markets.

The other option is a choice between using traditional banks and investment gurus on the one hand, or the modern-day upgrades with things like discount brokerages. While there is certainly merit in all of these options, many investors are not totally sold on either option. A fusion of these investment possibilities which encompasses online advice with a self-directed brokerage is increasingly preferred by clients.

Fintech Disrupting Traditional Banking

FinTech has dramatically revolutionized the investment landscape, and banking operations are front and centre. New-age investors prefer having a say in how their money is managed, and this need has not been fully satisfied with the options listed above. Instead, clients prefer hybrid options known as Robo advisors. The concept of a Robo advisor is largely misunderstood by mainstream investors. A Robo advisor does not remove the human element from investing and portfolio management.

True to form, Robo advisors do not require clients to meet with investment gurus face-to-face. It is a convenience-based element at play, and one that makes it easier for anyone to instantly initiate trades at the click of a button. Most of the communication via Robo advisors is conducted through secure online connections and chat services such as Skype, messenger, and the like.

More Control Over Financial Portfolios

The Canadian investment scene is slowly adapting to this modern-day technology, but only the Bank of Montréal has infused Robo advisor technology as part of its investments toolkit. FinTech is leaps and bounds ahead of traditional banking. It is a major disruptive force in the financial world, and it caters to a large under-banked or unbanked sector of society. In Canada, the US and across Europe, clients are looking for easier ways to manage their financial portfolios, while still maintaining control over trades that are executed.

The conventional system of entrusting all of one’s finances to a fund manager with a bias towards certain stocks, ETFs or mutual funds is losing traction. Today, investors want to have a modicum of control over their portfolio, and they don’t want the emotional component, or the bias via the investment advisor. A Robo advisor serves this purpose well. Provided the range of financial assets available to the client is all-encompassing, a Robo advisor can pick the appropriate stocks based on client specifications. Hard data is analysed instantly, and the best investment options are provided to the client.

Robo Advisors with Canadian Banks

The do-it-yourself model cannot be ignored by banks for much longer. The explosive growth of FinTech investment paradigms has already caused multiple banks like HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Goldman Sachs and others to stand up and take notice. Banks are implementing protocols to allow Robo advisors as part of their investment toolkit. One of the leading asset management companies is BMO. What many clients don’t know, is that BMO also has a robo advisor. Through use of this modern-day technology, BMO can now offer exchange traded funds across multiple portfolios.

It is the oldest bank in Canada, and also the first to adopt new-age technologies. Clients can easily synchronize their BMO online banking summary with their investment accounts for maximum functionality. A wide range of exchange traded funds is available, and the provision of Robo advisors makes it easy to use SmartFolio accounts. Account types include RRSP, TFSA, and RESP. By allowing customers to personalize their financial portfolios, it’s akin to a Robo advisor. This is the way Canadian investors are choosing to go, and many other big banks are now taking notice.

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