Alternative investments are on a tear, and no asset class has seen more growth than private equity. According to a recent study by eVestment, Assets under Administration (AUA) grew 44% from 2015 to 2016. This influx of capital has caused major ripple effects across the entire private equity landscape, with fund managers competing intensely to attract investor capital.
CFOs are under increasing pressure to demonstrate with certainty that they have full knowledge of data sources used for reported statements, to rule out errors and misreporting. However, due to ubiquitous, uncontrolled and unmonitored use of spreadsheets and end user computing applications, many CFOs are struggling to offer such cast-iron guarantees. Meanwhile the role of the CFO is widely recognized to facilitate and support business strategy so that the organization can achieve its goals and objectives – be it of profitability, capital, growth or anything else. Shareholders and investors cherish these metrics too. Consequently, CFOs are routinely driving transformation projects via acquisitions, on-shoring, off-shoring, financial restructuring and such, to control and improve the business performance of their organizations.
A lack of understanding and of the will to change is often described through the story of the boiling frog. The frog is said to be unable to sense the increasing water temperature and will not search for a way out of his misery – leading to his inevitable death.
A common analogy to the finance sector is the newspaper industry, and rightly so. Finance is quickly shaping up to be remarkably similar. The incumbent banks are the heavyweight newspapers – the Washington Post and Financial Times of the world. FinTechs are to banks what the growing mass of alternative news sources – blogs; e-zines; new digital-only newspapers; social media, most prominently, Twitter; and the increasing relevance of corporate content marketing – is to the incumbent newspapers.
It is not hyperbole to say that the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (a.k.a. “MiFID II”) will have a profound impact on the operations of financial institutions that distribute and trade financial instruments in the EU. In fact, this legislation, which seeks to protect investors by significantly raising the standard for transparency on investment houses, will likely confound even well-intentioned trading organizations doing their best to comply with the directive, much like we are seeing with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The FinTech revolution has become a worldwide movement in just a few years, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Global FinTech investments in 2015 were over double that of total investments made in 2014, indicating a surge in interest among different countries to become the FinTech capital of the world.
Ronald Reagan once succinctly summarized the US government’s view on regulation the following way: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it”. Taking the UK as an example, financial technology is worth c.GBP7billion and employs around 60,000 people - safe to say, the sector is on a roll. On top of the direct economic effect, one has to consider fintech’s wider broader economic impact from lowering the lower cost of credit or insurance, improving the level of financial inclusion and reducing financial transaction costs across remittances, payments and investments.
Why should my bank start making data-driven decisions? It’s a common question many bank executives are asking as they see the competition leveraging customer data to improve service, better segment, mitigate risk, enhance marketing messages, and drive new business opportunities.
In the past few years, investment in the Fintech sector has been exploding. In fact, between 2013 and 2014, Fintech investing tripled to grow to more than $12 billion per year. This investing is mainly due to the rapid innovation that is happening in the sector.
However, despite the enormous possibility for growth of Fintech, the industry is now facing one distinct challenge; increased government regulation.
On 8 April 2015, Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan, wrote to shareholders with the following caution: “Silicon Valley is coming”. This warning is often cited by those predicting the “imminent demise” of traditional banks and the rise of “FinTech”. But, fast-forward two years and Rome has not burned. The big banks are still here, and whilst FinTech continues to disrupt and challenge the financial services sector, the companies that have pioneered FinTech do not dominate the sector and the traditional banks seem pre-eminent as ever. The banks and FinTech have come to realise that they need each other. FinTech can improve bank customer participation and experience, whilst Banks can give FinTech the missing component to their businesses - users.
The recent and unprecedented spike in the number of millionaires in the US has spurred the creation of ever-more Family Offices (FOs) as people of wealth are turning to Single Family Offices (SFOs) and Multi-Family Offices (MFOs) to help them manage their wealth. Many of these offices offer a full suite of solutions including investing, budgeting, insurance, charitable giving, tax & legal services, and more.
Over the past few years, we've come to realize that lending is no longer constrained to the doors and floors of a bank. Now, with the power of digital platforms, we can lend and borrow through online companies at the swipe of a smartphone. This freedom has significantly impacted the lending and banking as industries, most notably the ability of individuals to obtain loan products. And this is great for consumers and financial institutions alike. In this article, we want to explore how peer-to-peer lending increases the adaptability of financial systems around the world.
We are all familiar with taking a wrong turn or missing a turn altogether while driving and have the GPS navigation system holler at us about recalculating the distance and then suggesting an alternative route. Might that have sounded a little fanciful in the 1980s when people were still relying on printed maps to navigate?