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Five ways technology will reshape the banking landscape in Asia in 2022

By Matthew Hodgson

While the impact of Covid has been hard felt by the financial services industry both in Asia and globally, the resulting challenges have provided the stimulus for long-overdue innovation and digitisation when it comes to the technology banks rely upon to do business.

Rewind 12 months and many industry commentators were making hopeful predictions for a ‘post-pandemic’ 2021. The reality today, however, is that the impact of the pandemic can continue to be seen across virtually every industry. For banks, a perfect storm of turbulent market conditions, remote working, growing client sophistication and ongoing regulatory challenges have compounded the need to harness new technology in order to do more with less.

As we head into 2022, the following technology trends are set to continue reshaping the landscape for banks across Asia. 
 
1. Decision intelligence will become increasingly critical
 
Gartner defines decision intelligence as technology that enables businesses to “manage, evaluate and improve decisions based on learnings and feedback.” In unpredictable market conditions, the ability for banks to harness the information at their disposal in order to decide upon the most relevant trading opportunities for their clients, at the right time, has become both a key competitive differentiator and driver of profitability. Simply put: if you’re a salesperson or trader with deeper insight into your customers’ behaviours and needs, your performance will improve.

At the core of decision intelligence is the ability to leverage transaction and external data efficiently, and then apply advanced analytics and AI to support, augment and automate decisions. Banks that are unable to help their clients make informed trading decisions will soon lose their advantage in an increasingly data-centric world.  

2. Advanced technologies will be further democratised

Digitisation has continued at pace in 2021, as pandemic-driven remote working remained widespread, and banks were forced to go digital urgently. In doing so, technological advances that might have previously taken years instead took months or even weeks, and the traditional stubbornness of the more antiquated corners of financial services in the face of change dissipated. Pre-pandemic, banks were location-centric, with staff tied to physical offices. Now, banks are becoming increasingly outcome-centric – workforces can be distributed, but they must be supported by digital technology to maintain and enhance performance. The resulting newfound trust in digital solutions is driving greater confidence amongst banks to adopt new technology.

A side effect of this trend has been a levelling of the playing field for banks of all sizes. New technologies to support digitisation – such as AI, machine learning and data analytics – are being delivered via the cloud by innovative, agile fintechs, significantly lowering the barriers to entry and enabling tier 2 and 3 banks to compete with global tier 1 banks. This democratisation of access to advanced technologies will continue to reshape the financial services industry in 2022 and beyond.

3. Banks will seek solutions that provide a holistic view of their data

Banks want to unlock the value in their data to help them to achieve decision intelligence and improve profitability. But it’s not quite as simple as flicking a switch and suddenly extracting actionable insight from data. All analytics programmes must begin with putting fundamental data foundations in place. Without the right preparatory work, valuable insights may remain inaccessible. 

The journey to a successful data analysis programme begins with the normalisation of transaction and market data. Aggregating, standardising and enriching data sets are the foundation of any successful analytics programme. From this solid foundation, advanced analytics tools can then begin to deliver value and salespeople and traders can provide the modern, information-driven trading experience that clients increasingly demand.

4. Clients will expect hyper personalisation of services and information

As consumer technology platforms such as Netflix and Amazon deliver ever-more personalised experiences, expectations of enterprise technology platforms in this regard have also increased.

For banks, relationships with their customers often hinge on the ability of sales teams to provide personalised services and targeted information, ideas and opportunities which really consider the individual need, interests and past behaviours of the customer.

By providing personalised, relevant insights and research, banks can demonstrate they truly understand their client. The net result for the bank is their staff have longer, more meaningful and hyper-personalised conversations with clients that ultimately lead to deeper relationships and more profitable trades. In the coming years, this will become table stakes for bank-client relationships.

5. Drive for greater efficiency and ROI

A recent survey of 260 FICC traders conducted by JP Morgan found almost a quarter cited workflow efficiency as their chief trading challenge. In addition, Gartner’s report on the top strategic technology trends for 2022 singled out efficiency – along with growth, and digitalization – as the top three priorities for CEOs as we head into the new year.

Across the board, banks are getting smaller, leaner, and are scrambling to keep up with innovation while capitalizing on opportunities. At the core of this new hyper-efficient operating model is a focus on enhancing the performance of every salesperson and trader by equipping them with the tools and intel to ensure they are focusing on the right client, at the right time, and making the right recommendations. This is central to efficiency in the world of trading – and the ability to leverage greater insight from transaction and market data is key to achieving it.

Similarly, with budgets and margins under real pressure even at top-tier investment banks, ROI has become a more crucial factor in any decision related to technology. As institutions are constantly looking for ways to eliminate risk from business operations, the unpredictable cost and resource demands of in-house technology projects have contributed to an increase in the levels of outsourcing. Against this backdrop, innovative and user-friendly fintech platforms that perform the same functions more effectively and at a fraction of the cost will continue to rise in popularity in 2022.

Looking ahead
The next 12 months will be a critical period for the financial services industry, and the role of technology and data will continue to dominate for banks across Asia and the rest of the globe.

Institutions that manage to capitalise on these trends will have the opportunity to grow market share, protect their niche segment and drive greater profitability in the markets in which they are active as we head into the new year and, hopefully, a post-COVID world. 

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Matthew Hodgson is the CEO at Mosaic Smart Data.

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