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Banking challenges and trends in investment banking

The investment banking industry is undergoing a major shift, one driven by new competition from Fintech, changing business models, mounting regulation and compliance pressures, and disruptive technologies.

The emergence of FinTech/non-bank startups is changing the competitive landscape in financial services, forcing traditional institutions to rethink the way they do business. As data breaches become prevalent and privacy concerns intensify, regulatory and compliance requirements become more restrictive as a result. And, if all of that wasn’t enough, customer demands are evolving as consumers seek round-the-clock personalized service.

These and other banking trends in investment banking can be resolved by the very technology that’s caused this disruption, but the transition from legacy systems to innovative solutions hasn’t always been an easy one. That said, banks and credit unions need to embrace digital transformation if they wish to not only survive but thrive in the current landscape.

More Competition

The threat posed by FinTechs, which typically target some of the most profitable areas in financial services, is significant. Goldman Sachs predicted that these start-up would accounts for upwards of USD 4.7 trillion in annual revenue being diverted from traditional financial services companies.’

These new industry entrants are forcing many financial institutions to seek partnerships and/or acquisition opportunities as a stop-gap measure; in fact, Goldman Sachs, themselves, recently made headlines for heavily investing in FinTech. In order to maintain a competitive edge, traditional banks and credit unions must learn from FinTechs, which owe their success to providing a simplified and intuitive customer experience.

Cultural Shift

In the digital world, there’s no room for manual processes and systems. Banks and credit unions need to think of technology-based resolutions to trends in investment banking. Therefore, it’s important that financial institutions promote a culture of innovation, in which technology is leveraged to optimize existing processes and procedures for maximum efficiency. This cultural shift toward a technology-first attitude is reflective of the larger industry-wide acceptance of digital transformation.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance has become one of the most significant investment banking challenges as a direct result of the dramatic increase in regulatory fees relative to earnings and credit losses since the 2008 financial crisis. From Basel’s risk-weighted capital requirements to the Dodd-Frank Act, and from the Financial Account Standards Board’s Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) to the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL), there are a growing number of regulations that banks and credit unions must comply with; compliance can significantly strain resources and is often dependent on the ability to correlate data from disparate sources.

Faced with severe consequences for non-compliance, banks have incurred additional cost and risk (without a proportional enhancement to risk mitigation) in order to stay up to date on the latest regulatory changes and to implement the controls necessary to satisfy those requirements. Overcoming regulatory compliance challenges requires banks and credit unions to foster a culture of compliance within the organization, as well as implement formal compliance structures and systems.

Technology is a critical component in creating this culture of compliance. Technology that collects and mines data, performs in-depth data analysis, and provides insightful reporting is especially valuable for identifying and minimizing compliance risk. In addition, technology can help standardize processes, ensure procedures are followed correctly and consistently, and enables organizations to keep up with new regulatory/industry policy changes.

Business Models

The cost associated with compliance management is just one of many investment banking industry challenges forcing financial institutions to change the way they do business. The increasing cost of capital combined with sustained low-interest rates, decreasing return on equity, and decreased proprietary trading are all putting pressure on traditional sources of banking profitability. In spite of this, shareholder expectations remain unchanged.

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