How FinTech Can Help Banks Reach Goals in 2018

A lot has been written about the relationship between traditional banking and FinTech. The most common thought? The astounding rise of the world’s FinTech market and how it will affect the banking industry. The general opinion is that the constant progress of FinTech will one day spell the end of the banking system as we know it.

What is FinTech? It’s defined as ‘computer programs and other technology used to support or enable banking and financial services.’ Advances in its technology include mobile functionality, simplicity, big data, accessibility, cloud computing, contextuality, personalisation and convenience.

Traditional banks have few of these qualities and therefore rely on something FinTech start-ups haven’t yet mastered – trust, security, significant capitalisation and customer indifference. But according to Starling Bank’s report, traditional banking consumers are fed up. The top frustrations with current UK banks being:

  1. Unclear and complicated language and charges.
  2. Complicated products that don’t fit with lifestyle.
  3. Processes and technology that takes too long.
  4. A superior or unhelpful attitude.

From this, it is understood that the technological innovation FinTech provides could help traditional banks reach their goals and appease fed up consumers. Indeed, in 2018, a partnership of the two presents boundless opportunity.

The top business benefits of partnering with FinTech technologies, per ACI’s FinTech Disruptors Report*. include the ability to generate new revenue streams (64%), the ability to enhance customer experience (59%) and the ability to offer new applications – at 56%.

Chris Skinner, Chairman of the Financial Services Club, comments:

“Start-ups have no existing structure to change so they can change everything. The challenge is how to convince customers to change. Incumbents (traditional banks) have millions of onboarded clients and so to change anything takes time.

Most have the time though, as customers are slow to change. Fundamentally, both are facing two very different challenges – FinTech’s are creating while the incumbents are converting.”

By embracing themes, like openness, collaboration and investment, banks can afford to disrupt their own business model rather than waiting for challenger models to do so. However, traditional banks are anticipating this by creating new businesses within their existing structures that adapt and collaborate to meet these challenges and to make better, faster use of customer insight. A key competitive advantage.

A FinTech and Bank Partnership

Further to ACI’s Report, more than three quarters of banks, and a similar proportion of FinTech groups, identify partnership with the opposite camp as an essential ingredient to meeting the challenges of institutional inertia.

In fact, 80% of banks agree with their FinTech peers that FinTech is a viable, even essential path to the future. The top three ways embracing technologies can help banks meet their goals, according to ACI, include engaging in partnerships with FinTech (78%), expanding existing partnerships vendors (57%) and leveraging cloud technology – at 44%.

In 2018, banks’ new approach to FinTech is more about seizing opportunity and changing customer needs than defensive strategies to mitigate risk. Turnerlittle.com observed statistics from the same ACI report, to outline the exact areas where banks want to partner with FinTech:

  1. Payments – 68%
  2. Banking infrastructure – 43%
  3. E-Commerce – 40%
  4. Remittances – 37%
  5. Security and fraud management – 32%
  6. Consumer banking – 29%

Financial institutions see the greatest opportunity in payments – with nearly 70% identifying this as a key area of interest – followed by 43% interest in banking infrastructure.

Equally, e-commerce is a focus for 40% of banks and remains a major focus for FinTech too, suggesting that the current period of development is proving productive in terms of aligning interests and establishing goals between the two industries.

*ACI’s report considers findings from an industry-wide survey of banks and established financial institutions, FinTech start-ups and ecosystem participants alongside insights from over 20 interviews with financial institutions across Europe, FinTech founders, investors and enterprise-level technology firms.

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The Highest “Death Rate” in Business, REVEALED

Per the Business Demography release, published by ONS in November 2017, there were approximately 2.85 million active businesses in the UK in 2016; an increase of 135,000 on 2015.

The research details the number of business births continued to increase from 383,000 to 414,000 between 2015-16, a birth rate of 14.6%.

“Birth rate” definition: New business registrations are referred to as business births. The birth rate is calculated using the number of births as a proportion of the active enterprises.

In 2016, the highest rate of business births continued to occur in business administration and support, at 23.1%, compared with a rate of 20.4% in 2015. The second-highest rate occurred in transport and storage, at 23%, compared with 20.3% in 2015.

London had the highest business birth rate, at 17.5% – followed by the East (15.8%) and West Midlands (15.5%.) Northern Ireland has the lowest birth rate, at 10.2%.

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

Since 2011, the rate of business births has continued to exceed the rate of deaths and the gap in rates has continued to widen in recent years – until 2016. This may reflect the uncertainty around the economic outlook towards the end of 2016, following the UK’s EU referendum’s results.

Indeed, the number of UK business deaths also increased from 283,000 to 328,000 between 2015-16, a death rate of 11.6%.

“Death rate” definition: Businesses that have ceased to trade are referred to as business deaths. The death rate is calculated using the number of deaths as a proportion of the active enterprises.

The highest business death rate, at 17% is seen in finance and insurance, compared with 13.3% in 2015. Followed by business administration and support, at 15.4% – compared with 10.1% in 2015. Turnerlittle.com sought to identify the top 10 businesses with the highest death rates:

From the infographic created by Turner Little, we can see that whilst finance and insurance (17%), business administration and support (15.4%) and property (15.2%) hold the top 3 highest death rates, exceedingly low death rates can be found in transport and storage (10.9%), production (20.8%) and retail (10.5%.)

The region with the highest business death rate was London, at 14%, followed by Scotland at 11.8%. Northern Ireland had the lowest death rate, at 9.2%.

Furthermore, it was found the UK five-year survival rate for business born in 2011 and still active in 2016 was 44.1%. By region, the highest five-year survival rate was seen in the South West, at 47%, while the lowest was in London, at 41.7%.

By broad industry, some notably high five-year survival rates include health, with a survival rate of 54.1% and property, with a survival rate of 51.1%.  Accommodation and food services had the lowest, with only 34.6% of businesses surviving for five years.

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Certainly, in the creation of new business, no matter the industry, there is huge risk. Entrepeneur.com highlights risk to be accredited to 5 key areas:

  1. Product Risk

If you can’t explain what you sell, why you’re selling it and why people should invest – you won’t secure interest and sales.

  1. Market Risk

Knowing your customer and why, how and where they buy related products is arguably the most important risk factor to assess before launching a product.

  1. Financial Risk

Make sure to identify key business milestones and schedules that clearly identify the points in time when equity or debt investments are necessary to reach the next major milestone.

If you can articulate your business plan, growth path and reach each milestone successfully, this builds confidence in potential investors.

  1. Team Risk

Invest in people who believe in your company and instil a sense of confidence that they can help get your company across the finish line – and maintain it.

  1. Execution Risk

Many entrepreneurs can become so mired in the details that they completely lose sight of the overall company trajectory and strategy. Participate, evaluate the risks and don’t be afraid to pivot.

Managing director of Turnerlittle.com, James Turner notes:

“It is obviously, incredibly important to evaluate all types of risk when thinking about starting – or investing in – a business. Financial loss can be devastating.

However, the potential for failure should never put you off trying. My advice would be to research, thoroughly, read case studies, speak to people who have both achieved success and faced loss, and always tread with awareness.”

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

Feature Image Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

Half of businesses increased their cyber security budget last year

Today, cyber-attacks are becoming more prevalent, more frequent and more threatening than ever before. Now that the majority of financial institutions are opting to transform their operations by using new digital channels, automation and other advanced technologies, the dangers to companies are considerably heightened. Utilising a report from Ernst and Young (EY), Turnerlittle.com sought to find out how cyber security threats have increased in recent years, and what companies are, and should, be doing to prevent cyber-attacks.

With the sudden increase in the frequency and scope of cyber-attacks around the world, new and impending regulations are already encouraging some of the financial sector’s biggest names to review their cyber security plans. In an EY survey, Turner Little analysed that, staggeringly, more than half of respondents (53%) admitted that their cyber security budget has increased over the last year due to more recent demands needed for protection.

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In an age where we are so consumed with technology, companies are beginning to understand that cyber security is a major risk, perhaps even a number one priority. But, unfortunately, no business can completely protect itself from a cyber-attack. Companies can implement plans and strategies to help prevent breaches from occurring, or being too damaging to a company’s reputation.

Cyber risks are constantly changing and are difficult to keep up with, which can be destructive. Therefore, deciding what areas are ‘critical’ for protection can be a challenging process for any big company, as attacks are becoming increasingly complex and the lines of attack are shifting each day. For many companies, customer data is at the forefront, with a staggering 65% of businesses citing customer personal and identifiable information as the most valuable asset to protect, while 36% cited customer passwords.

Turnerlittle.com found the following business assets to be the next most important to protect for cyber security:

  • Company financial information – 19.5%
  • Corporate strategic plans – 18.4%
  • Senior executive/board member personal information – 15.1%
  • Information exchanged during M&A activities – 11.5%
  • Patented intellectual property (IP) – 10.1%
  • R&D information – 9.6%
  • Non-patented IP – 8.3%
  • Supplier/vendor identifiable information – 4.2% 

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Turnerlittle.com found that, at present, there is a low skill set shortage in the cyber security field. Unfortunately, at all levels, there is a lack of training regarding how cyber risks should be handled in day-to-day business life. As a result, companies need to increase cyber security awareness training, whilst instilling an understanding of how cyber risks can impact different roles and projects, as well as overall businesses.

Turner Little analysed a 2017 report by Gov.uk and found that over the last 12 months, some businesses are attempting to ensure cyber security training, either internal or external, is offered to all employees. Although, from the report, Turner Little concluded that training must be more accessible.

Some of the results conclude:

  • Small firms – 25%
  • Medium firms – 43%
  • Large firms – 63%
  • Within finance/insurance – 49%
  • Within info/ communications/utilities – 41% 

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Of these companies, the employees who attend the training courses varies. Unsurprisingly, IT staff had the highest attendance (79%), followed by directors or senior management staff (59%), staff members whose job role includes information security or governance (47%) and other staff who aren’t cyber security or IT specialists (29%).

Despite IT staff attending more training courses on cyber security, more training must be offered to staff this year. Cyber security risks affect everyone, not just the IT department – it has a serious direct and immediate effect on businesses as a whole, impacting corporate reputation, business acquisition and client retention. Perhaps this could explain why many business boards often take a ‘narrow’ view of cyber security, and direct resources towards other areas of security and software? The expense.

Turner Little found that cyber security can be expensive for companies; particularly those that are deemed “small” or micro-businesses. According to Gov.uk, the mean spend on cyber security of all businesses in the UK is £4,590, and for large businesses, the mean spend reaches a staggering £387,000. However, it is worth it in the long run, as Turner Little found that the average cost of breaches to all businesses in the UK reached £1,570 in the last 12 months – and £19,600 for large firms.

Photo credit: Kopytin Georgy/Shutterstock

So, what can businesses do?

Turnerlittle.com has rounded up the top 10 things business can do to in 2018 to prevent cyber security breaches, using information from cyber experts at EY:

  1. Integrate cyber security into the talent strategy and create a CISO (chief information security officer) role that is fit for your business
  2. Clearly define cyber security responsibilities in your business
  3. Put cyber security at the forefront of a cross-functional business strategy – it shouldn’t be viewed as an “IT problem”
  4. Ensure that cyber security is at the heart of digital innovation and helps, rather than hinders it
  5. Understand how new and upcoming regulation can impact your business, and work with regulators, as they want a strong financial services sector
  6. Risk rate all your key assets and determine a protection approach for each one – with a focus on the most critical ones
  7. Develop a dynamic cyber security risk management model to enable your business to scale if there is an escalation of external risk or a decision to change the firm’s risk
  8. Integrate compliance into your cyber security strategy – any money invested in compliance will return value to the business by providing appropriate protection
  9. Strengthen resilience by having a clear crisis action and communication plan for when things do go wrong, so that crisis and continuity management can be thought through and practiced at all levels of the business
  10. Collaborate with your peers to seek more solutions – today’s cyber risks threaten the entire financial system, and the failure of one key player could damage the reputation of an entire industry

Feature image credit: Tashatuvango/Shutterstock