True transformation in finance needs a reskilling revolution
The financial services industry has always been impacted by legacy technologies and skills gaps. According to a 2020 , 74% of companies are unable to find the right skills in the local labour market, and 43% report skills gaps in their present leadership teams. While top players in the industry like JPMorgan Chase have , the majority of companies are still to take action.
Evolving customer habits, cost-related pressures and shifting regulatory policies are the major drivers of this skills gap in the industry. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the list. Customer habits are changing, employees are being recognised as stakeholders, and governance, risk and compliance impacts due to the pandemic have added pressure to adapt to new rules of doing business within weeks. In the process, a growing proportion of existing roles are being rendered obsolete. Yet, new skill-sets and rapid digital transformation initiatives offer potential to replace legacy ways of doing work with greater agility, efficiency and resilience – and at lower costs.
New skills for tomorrow’s workforce
The need for digital transformation in financial services is being rightly acknowledged, but one of the biggest challenges in transformation initiatives is skills gaps in the current workforce – gaps that cannot be closed by simply making new hires. It’s therefore vital that transformation happens in sync with organisation-wide upskilling and reskilling initiatives.
- Customer experience: Customer expectations are on the rise, and this is pressuring financial services companies to redesign the customer journey. Omnichannel, 24/7 engagement has become the norm rather than a differentiator, which calls for new value propositions. In the digital era, the cost and effort of switching providers is low, which places greater power in customers’ hands. As a result, user and customer experience designers are in high demand and hold significant value in today’s digital economy.
- Digital expertise: In a world where physical interactions are being replaced by digital interactions, collaborative skills for back-office processes, proficiency with software suites, and the ability to engage with customers digitally with an empathetic approach are becoming indispensable skills.
- Incubation and innovation: Rapid advancements in technology are refining various processes in the financial services industry. For example, consider new ways of judging credit-worthiness through IoT health data or . Bringing these innovations to the market requires teams with diverse yet specialist skills to work alongside rapid ‘build-test-learn’ pathways.
- Agility: To bring innovations to market, leaders are building agile teams, with hires from outside the industry partnering with startups on innovative products. This calls for a shift from a process-oriented approach to a project-based one, where more end-to-end responsibilities are met. This can be achieved if employees possess a wider skill-set encompassing multiple processes, rather than more concentrated, niche skills.
- Application development: Web and mobile apps are essential to increase speed-to-market of new solutions. These digital markets are therefore fuelling the demand for software developers, along with user experience specialists, marketing specialists and risk analysts.
- Automation: Increasing pressure on the bottom-line, especially during a restrained economy in the COVID-19 era, is forcing companies to adopt automation for various workflows. While these can complete mundane tasks, leaving employees to focus on more business-critical processes, ensuring the right data is being used and that security isn’t compromised requires very specific skills.
How to synchronise transformation in practice
The urgency of closing these skills gaps and retraining the existing workforce is obvious. However, rather than hindering it, many financial services companies may not realise of this reskilling revolution. Leaders in the finance industry are partnering with technology leaders to identify the right upskilling, reskilling and micro-skilling initiatives that can efficiently close these skills gaps. The problem should be recognised as one of social responsibility, which can be tackled by joining hands with competitors and investing in avenues that can impart key skills to the right people in the existing workforce – both in the short-term and long-term.
Another method to close the skills gap in financial services is augmenting the skill-sets of the current workforce with bootcamps and extended collaboration with top universities. Within organisations, creating team settings that are conducive to the transferral of skills is another effective measure for introducing new skills in the existing workforce.
Ultimately, then, legacy organisations need to realise that not only is technology changing the number and kinds of people working in banks and financial institutions, but the nature of their roles is also changing. While hiring new expertise will be unavoidable during demand spikes and urgent situations, the true value of digital transformation will emerge only when the workforce can run the ‘new machine’ smoothly. Until then, Finance 4.0 will be an aspiration that many companies fail to realise.
The Ultimate FinTech & InsurTech LIVE Event
From October 12th-14th, 2021, BizClik’s FinTech & InsurTech event will bring together influential executives from around the world. Streamed live from Tobacco Dock, London, this three-day event will be an excellent way to finish the year strong, gaining the confidence your company needs to move forward into the future.
With keynote addresses from global leaders, dynamic roundtable discussions, and extensive networking opportunities, FinTech & InsurTech 2021 will expand your network, deliver insight, and enhance your organisation’s reach.
Already confirmed speakers include Colin Payne, VP & NextGen FS Global Lead at Capgemini; Dipu KV, President and Head of Operations & CX at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company; Bryan Caroll, CEO at TNEX; and Lucy Demery, Managing Director at Barclays.
The event will include:
- Keynote addresses from respected industry leaders
- Dynamic live roundtables (inc. Q&A)
- Fireside discussions
- Inspirational Speakers & Presentations
- Extensive networking opportunities
Meet the Speakers
Each week, from now until the event, we’ll be announcing the latest speakers who are set to grace our physical or virtual stage, prepared to share their knowledge and insight with attendees.
Our second batch consists of:
Currently the Senior Vice President of Business Development & Fintech for Mastercard UK & Ireland, a position he’s held since 2014, Abraham describes himself as “a proven and successful senior sales leader with experience across a wide range of industries, sectors, and channels.”
Graduating from the University of Northampton in 1994 with a BA in Economics and Law, he worked for nine years at Sainsburys - eventually responsible for banking the company’s revenue and running its ATMs - and then Barclaycard for three years as Head of Client Management. In 2007, Abraham became VP of Client Management at American Express, and then VP and GM Global Supplier Relations EMEA in 2012.
In his current role at Mastercard, Abraham is accountable for the acceptance of all payments and products through all channels, devices, and technologies across UK and Ireland. In addition, he oversees the deployment of innovative new payment tech within the region.
Fraser-Hawkins’ role as CEO, UK Corporate, at Marsh McLennan is the continuation of a long and successful insurance career, which has included being London Sales Director for JLT Group and Branch Director for Willis Towers Watson.
Marsh prides itself on being a company that hires top-tier talent, does work that impacts peoples’ lives, and offers its employees the opportunity to make a difference. This is clearly an attitude that aligns with Fraser-Hawkins’ own values; regarding the insurer’s UK Young Professionals initiative, a support network to help young professionals in their development, he said:
"I am passionate about developing talent and our Young Professional CRG provides a brilliant community for our Young Professional colleagues to discuss key issues relevant early in their careers, as well as an environment to promote the skills, learning and network for success."
Massaro is currently the CEO of Boston fintech Flywire, a role he took on in 2013. He first joined the team in 2012 as VP of Business Development, but it wasn’t long before his entrepreneurial skills were redirected to leading the entire company’s high-growth strategy worldwide.
An expert in domestic and international payments and billing, enterprise technology sales, strategic alliances, enterprise software, SaaS, product management and marketing, and much more, Massaro is a consummate finance professional whose credentials befit the leadership of a prominent global payments fintech.
His previous positions include Consultant at PwC and Product Line Manager at Oracle, and he maintains a Mentor role at startup accelerator MassChallenge. He graduated magna cum laude from Babson College with a BS in Information Systems and Finance.
This event is set to be one of the year's most unmissable. If you want to get leading perspectives on the future of fintech and insurtech, go to Eventbrite and purchase your tickets now.