Looking forward: Insights from experts on the future of financial services industry

Watch now: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3

In our new video series, “Top Trends in Financial Services 2022 with Microsoft,” we bring you insights from three exceedingly knowledgeable opinion leaders who sit down with Microsoft experts in financial services to discuss the future of the industry. This series covers what we can expect to see in the industry in 2022 and beyond on a vast array of topics—from financial inclusion to sustainability. Each key opinion leader covers different topics from their own expertise.

Sandeep Mangaraj, Industry Executive, Digital Transformation, Financial Services, Microsoft, sat down with Theodora Lau, founder of Unconventional Ventures and co-author of “Beyond Good,” to discuss the importance of inclusion and sustainability in the financial services industry in episode one.

Episode two features a discussion between Matthew Sekol, Industry Executive, Capital Markets, Microsoft, and Emergent Technology CTO Sally Eaves, an award-winning international author, keynote speaker, and thought leader on digital transformation. Eaves devotes herself to educating and mentoring the next generation of tech talent and is a global influencer in multiple disciplines, including AI, 5G, and sustainability.

Fintech and broader financial services topics are the focus of discussion between Roman Chwyl, Managing Director, Microsoft Fintech Unicorns, and Brett King, best-selling author and renowned futurist and media personality, in the third episode. King hosts the world’s top-ranked fintech radio show/podcast called “Breaking Banks.” He also is the founder of Moven and recently released his seventh book, “The Rise of Technosocialism.”

This video series provides in-depth expert insights into financial services and the direction it’s heading in 2022. Watch these episodes to learn what the future may hold for the financial services industry.

Episode 3:

How fintech firms are growing through current disruptions

In this final episode of our three-part series entitled “Top Trends in Financial Services 2022 with Microsoft,” host Roman Chwyl, Managing Director of Fintech Unicorns at Microsoft, interviews Brett King, a media personality and founder of Moven, a globally recognized mobile Fintech that launched the first in-app mobile bank account offered anywhere in the world. King talks about the growth of fintech since the onset of the pandemic and the opportunities and disruption it is creating for financial service organizations. 

How fintechs are shaping the future of financial services

Despite the explosive growth of fintech companies that provide digital solutions for bank customers, many incumbent financial institutions appear to not realize the impact the pandemic has had on their industry. Among King’s observations on how fintechs are dictating the future of banking are the following key takeaways: 

  1. Fintechs are here to stay
    Companies like Wise and challenger banks in China and Europe have all had record funding rounds while simultaneously seeing tremendous customer growth. These organizations benefit from their ability to grow rapidly through digital scaling and low customer acquisition costs. They are gathering market share, are well-funded, and—most importantly—are profitable. “The sky’s the limit for these guys,” King says.

  2. Digital revenue will fuel growth
    For many companies, digitalization may only happen through consolidation and partnerships. What must drive change is the understanding that digital technologies will be the fuel for growth and increased market share. “It starts with an internal culture that recognizes that digital revenue should be the priority,” King says.

  3. The future of fintech is in cloud capabilities
    Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure will be critical for banks throughout the next decade if they want to compete with fintechs that are gaining market share. On-premise solutions will not be enough. By 2025, there will be three major players in the banking ecosystem: surviving incumbent banks, the tech giants that own the technology, and fintechs with specialized capabilities. Cloud technology will be vital for integrating services in that world. “If (a company) wants to be in the customer’s world, they have to be in their technology,” King says. 

Learn more

Read more about King and his company, Moven, by visiting his website.

Episode 2:

How new governance reporting will affect financial services

In this second episode of our three-part series entitled “Top Trends in Financial Services 2022 with Microsoft,” host Matthew Sekol, Industry Solutions Executive at Microsoft, interviews Prof. Sally Eaves, Emergent Technology CTO at Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, about the rapid development of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) reporting and how it will affect the growth of financial services.

The growing importance of ESG in the industry

To survive in today’s global economy, companies realize the need for greater visibility and transparency through ESG reporting. Among Eaves’ observations on the role this will play in financial services growth and sustainability:

  1. From a conversation to a culture
    Since the pandemic, the conversation around business sustainability and ESG has shifted from a call to action into everyday corporate activity. This requires establishing milestones for success and levels of accountability that reflect their importance. For example, organizations are publishing around ESG reporting and/or communicating their support for NetZero initiatives. “We’re seeing a better commitment. What we need now is a transition to accountability alongside that,” Eaves says.

  2. The rise of brand purpose
    Sustainability and ESG, or “brand purpose,” are becoming as important a driver for business competitiveness as customer service, quality of experience, product, and functionality. The success of brand purpose will require establishing new KPIs to measure, report, and refine efforts to remain competitive. In terms of governance and compliance, a new layer of laws regarding compliance and mandated disclosures is needed. “It will be about helping consumers make more informed decisions,” Eaves says.

  3. Empowering AI with data literacy
    Companies are turning to AI solutions to assess the deluge of data around ESG and understanding the risks and opportunities that ESG reporting presents. In addition to the three “Vs” or pillars of current data analysis—volatility, veracity and volume—a fourth must be added: value. This fourth pillar requires investment by companies for skill competence, data literacy, and education, which is important for understanding and interpreting the data. “We need smart technology and smart thinking as well,” Eaves says.

Learn more

To learn more about Eaves, visit her website. Her insight will give you an idea of what to expect in the financial services industry this coming year.

Episode 1:

Ensuring consumer inclusiveness in a digital fintech world

A challenge facing the financial services industry is adapting to the industry’s changing landscape as we move into 2022. It’s vital that small business owners and gig workers be included in the solutions that are developed.

In this first episode of a three-part series titled “Top Trends in Financial Services 2022 with Microsoft,” host Sandeep Mangaraj, Industry Executive, Digital Transformation, Financial Services from Microsoft, interviews Theodora Lau about the need to innovate financial services to serve the needs of the workforce that comprises the backbone of our economy. Lau is the founder of Unconventional Ventures, co-author of “Beyond Good,” and co-host of a fintech podcast called “One Vision.”

Included in Lau’s key interview points on how fintech can drive an inclusive future of financial services:

  1. Solutions must be accessible for all: The “Great Resignation” has created a wave of individuals flocking from the corporate structure to become their own bosses. It will be necessary for financial services companies to step up so they can serve this growing group of small business owners, gig workers, and entrepreneurs.

    “When I started my own company years ago, it was painful to get a bank account,” Lau says. “Today, there are still so many features that I would take for granted as a consumer that small business owners do not have access to. It’s about time that we begin to serve a wider demographic in our society.”

  2. It will require collaboration and “coopetition”: The relationship between incumbent financial institutions and fintech must continue to evolve. Each must realize their interdependence to provide better products and services. As Lau says, “Coopetition is an old-school word, but I like it. Incumbents need the technology to survive … fintech ideas and solutions can help them innovate. Those that can do well finding ways to partner with companies to navigate challenges … will be those that thrive.”

  3. A cashless society does not mean “no cash”: The calls to close bank branches and eliminate cash because of the rise of digital banking are premature. “There are still a lot of people who do not have a bank account and still rely on cash. In our society, bank branches still play an important role, particularly in rural areas, that are more than a transaction,” Lau says. “The question is how do we provide services to people who really need them.”

Learn more

To learn more about Lau, visit her Unconventional Ventures website.