Are bankers just rearranging deckchairs?

Chris Skinner, the moderator of DataArt’s round table on disruptive technologies in the financial sector that took place in London on November 4, shares some takeaways from the evening.

"The theme of the meeting was whether the financial industry is being transformed by technology or evolved. To put this in context, a transformational change was positioned as one where the existing financial industry would be replaced by a new business model, whilst an evolutionary change would adapt the existing model.

Cliff Moyce, strategic advisor to DataArt, kicked the discussion off with a view that incumbent institutions struggle to innovate and change because they have thousands of people to organise and years of legacy to manage. However, you only have to look at today’s world of Google, Facebook and Alibaba to realise that these are the icebergs that are out there already today. Are banks just moving deckchairs around on the Titanic and not seeing these icebergs or, even more telling, choosing to ignore them?

This theme of icebergs and Titanic remained throughout the evening, with Cliff summarising that the new world of finance has been transformed by technology and today, we need to be focused upon using platforms to build financial communities but, all too often, banks are fixed with a view focused upon products and channels.

There was general agreement that the business model is changing, but most of the panel felt it was both an evolution and a transformation. It is an evolution for those who embrace the change, and can make the change to a different structure based upon digital platforms. It will also certainly be a disaster for those banks that choose to resist the change.”

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