The financial sector is old — prehistorically old — and for hundreds of years, it’s stayed, more or less, the same.
Times, however, are changing. New technologies are emerging and they are poised to disrupt traditional financial service firms and institutions.
In this blog, I’m going to look at four incoming technologies that stand to disrupt your financial services business.
The sharing economy
The sharing economy only really broke into public consciousness when Uber, Airbnb and Instacart matured from plucky startups into multibillion dollar unicorns.
And even though the sharing economy has made serious head roads into real estate and transportation, many predicted that the financial sector was a step too far.
Well, turns out they were wrong.
While the financial sector isn’t awash with new sharing economy startups, there’s a handful set up and doing well. LendingClub, Funding Circle, TransferWise and Prosper all use some aspects of the sharing economy and they’re starting to turn heads.
All four are super exciting but I’ve not really got enough time to dig into each one individually so here’s a quick briefing on the largest of the four, Prosper.
Prosper uses technology to decentralise personal loans. Instead of borrowing a lump sum from a bank, Prosper allows you to borrow lots of little loans from lots of individuals.
Apply that decentralised model to mortgages, business loans, venture capital and so on and the question arises: Do we need traditional financial institutions?
After decades of false dawns, artificial intelligence is finally living up to its promise.
While you might not realise it, artificial intelligence is already firmly ingrained in the financial sector with algorithmic trading, market analysis and portfolio management all already powered by AI tech.
However, with significant improvements in natural language processing, emotional intelligence and logical reasoning on the horizon, expect to see AI tech in more prominent customer-facing roles in the very near future.
Digital? An incoming technology? Come on, it’s already here, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. Digital technologies are already a core part of most financial service firms but there’s definitely more to come.
Most mainstream services are still a hybrid of online and offline systems. (I recently had to go into my local bank branch and fill out a paper form to change my address. Crazy, I know.)
As digitally native generations grow up, most financial service firms will move to a digital-first or digital-only approach.
Just look at the successes digital challenger banks like Atom, Monzo and Starling Bank have enjoyed in the last few years.
Personalisation is the hot topic at the moment. How can businesses tailor individual customer experiences to those customers?
With some industries, it’s pretty easy. Amazon, for example, simply looks at the products you’re viewing and then tailors its design and communication towards them.
You look at toasters and Amazon shows you toasters on the homepage. You add a breadmaker to your basket but never buy it and Amazon sends you a reminder about it via email.
How personalisation works in the financial sector is less clear but I’m still positive that it will radically change how financial services work.
Just look at what Clydesdale Bank is doing with its B Current account. This current account allows you to set up ‘pots’ within your account so you can save for specific things. Your current account doesn’t look like everyone else’s current account, it looks like yours. This lets you set up your finances to look exactly how you want them to.