At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, it has become clear that the worlds of finance and business have changed exponentially, and possibly for good.
Remote working has become the new norm for millions of employees across the globe, and plenty of businesses are even considering extending their remote operations model beyond their nation’s lockdown measures. This is because innovative technology has facilitated the quick change to safe, at-home working for an abundance of industries.
Beyond frontline workers and key staff, such as healthcare workers, it could be argued that the financial sector has been one of the most important pillars to society during the COVID-19 outbreak: providing consumers access to personal finances, debt loans, and even financial advice, which has been absolutely key for some people during this extremely difficult time.
Fortunately, cutting-edge technology and fintech (financial technology) have supported the finance sector with surprising ease. Professionals can work remotely with the aid of video conferencing software and cloud-enabled SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solutions, and consumers can access services using mobile apps and online platforms.
Whilst it is true that development in fintech has been a growing trend in the last few years, the recognition of its importance has only been accelerated by Covid-19, and over the next few months and years we’ll see existing trends in this space develop, and new ones emerge:
The shift toward cloud-based computing has already been significant, especially amongst workers who now operate remotely. In fact, most financial institutions utilise cloud-enabled SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions to enable HR and accounting processes, for example.
However, advancements being made in cloud technologies, means that soon we could see core services in the financial sector, such as consumer payments, credit scoring and billing, to become stored and managed in cloud-based SaaS solutions.
Seemingly every year, financial institutions are facing a new range of regulations they have to adhere to in order to ensure they are operating safely, securely and legally.
These regulations have stacked up – they overlap and can be extremely confusing even to an expert eye. Therefore, whilst RegTech has been a useful tool for some banking institutions over the past few years, it won’t be long before automation of KYC solutions, for example, are absolutely imperative for a financial institution to comply with the remits of the law.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology have been a growing trend in finance in the past decade, primarily being used to reduce costs, improve decision making and mitigate risks. However, the demand for digital banking services as a result of Covid-19 will likely push the sector in the direction of developing and incorporating sophisticated automation and customer service AI.
We are a few years off the mass adoption of robotics technology of this nature, but it’s safe to say that Covid-19 has highlighted the pressing need for more automation and better service technology.
As mentioned before, entire workforces have been operating on an online, remote, sometimes even unsecure environment during the coronavirus pandemic, and the threat of cyber attacks facing organisations (particularly those in the finance sector) has grown exponentially.
Fraud and online scams have also grown in sophistication, using SMS messages to trick workers into thinking they had been in contact with the deadly coronavirus, for example. Therefore, cyber-security has been heavily invested into by financial institutions looking to protect their own client, employee and company information.
We have also seen cyber attacks disrupt national enterprises, a prime example being the EasyJet hack, which leaked nine million customers’ data. Due to the nature of the finance sector and sensitive information stored on its servers, namely consumer payment details, we should only expect investments in cyber security to continue, in order to tackle this growing threat.
Resetting to a new normal is hard, but adapting to it must start now. Companies in the financial industry need to observe trends, analyse weak points, address consumer requests, and act accordingly on these pain points with investment in new operations and technology.
The good news is that the hard part is largely over for now – many businesses have successfully adapted to this new normal with surprising ease, thanks to new technology – and over the next few months and years, we should hopefully benefit from a reactive technology industry which will only develop further to address and aid the processes and difficulties of finance and business.
By Clément Desportes De La Fosse, co-founder and chief operating and financial officer at Spearvest