2021 was a pivotal year for the financial services industry to accelerate the shift to a dynamic new ‘smart financial ecosystem’. We saw organizations across banking, insurance, wealth, fin tech and big tech, innovate at a record pace. To a great extent, transformation has been catalyzed by Covid and a general reorganization of business operating models. At Teradata, we took big strides to maintain our leadership position in major analytic categories to help our customers drive business value outcomes. The analyst community has recognized Teradata Vantage as the leading hybrid, multi-cloud data and analytics platform. Our Vantage platform delivers enterprise scale analytics at the lowest cost of ownership in the global market.
As we begin a new year, I wanted to share some of the leading areas of transformation ahead in 2022 that will shape our business narrative for financial services in the Americas.
Vehicle Telematics: The Honeymoon Phase is Over
The sparkle of vehicle telematics will fade in 2022 as consumers and regulators further realize that the promised transparency has been somewhat of a smoke screen. Originally touted as a means to fairer, more controllable personal auto premiums, the fundamental prerequisite to expose volumes of intimate personal driving behavior to insurers and their 3rd party vendors is raising eyebrows with state insurance commissioners. Recently, an increasing number of carriers have submitted rate filings claiming “trade secret” as a justification to run black box algorithms under the radar, mounting calls for additional transparency – such as a requirement to disclose each driving factor measured and how it is used to determine price. As consumer behavior adapts to the new post-pandemic normal and regulators further grasp the transparency gap, insurers will face a new wave of scrutiny and demands for openness in how exactly individual driving behaviors influence perceived risk.
Open Banking/Open Finance: Becoming a Household Movement in the U.S.
In spite of the absence of any unified set of regulations governing all aspects of Open Banking in the U.S., institutions have continued to drive innovation and implementation of Open Banking / Open Finance capabilities. This is exemplified by fintech companies like Plaid, which have carved out and occupied solid positions for themselves in the banking value chain. Some established players, exemplified by PayPal and Walmart, are striving to cast a wide net of customer-centric capabilities by developing “Super Apps” to become the most relevant provider. The trial period is over. In 2022, we should expect serious commitments on the part of large organizations to tackle more of the foundational elements that underpin Open Banking / Open Finance such as consumer data security, ecosystems and alliances, cloud-based delivery of services, architecture, and most important – services that enhance a customer’s daily life delivered through “humanized” experiences.
“Doing more with less” will be truer than ever as labor shortages and employee turnover force greater reliance on automation for accounting tasks and analytical insights. There will be a focus on leveraging ML and AI to identify trends in data, including data anomalies as they occur. This will enable near real-time opportunities to address unusual activity versus when the books close or the process is audited. As core reporting becomes more automated, finance will be motivated to learn new skills to leverage data analytics and drive strategic value to the business users. This includes hiring more data scientists. Future business value will drive investments and spend activity as budgets tighten and are scrutinized. ESG strategies will dominate financial planning in 2022 as companies embrace new standards and regulations. Cryptocurrency will emerge as a viable investment vehicle, but corporations will be reluctant to lead the charge – preferring a wait and see approach.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: RESPONSIBLE ACTION
Digital Transformation acceleration became a necessity given the COVID-19 crisis. Financial services firms were forced to adjust processes across many of their customer relationship operating model components. Now, they will start to shift to Responsible Digital Transformation:
- Customers: Focus will be on augmenting data security, as well as transparency and control over customers’ data. Using third party data may generate a scenario where customers feel an invasion to their privacy and experience discomfort. Hence, companies will offer more transparent, clear, specific and “easy to understand” privacy policies.
- Management: Focus will grow on digital operating environments to identify and minimize operational, cybersecurity, fraud, regulatory, reputational, and strategic risks.
- Regulators: Requirements will evolve to address enhanced governance, incorporating financial inclusion, fairness, sustainability and financial system stability through model supervision, system interoperability and processing, data privacy and potential biases among data, models, employees, and decision-making processes.
COMPLIANCE AND FINANCIAL CRIMES
- Crypto: Globally, regulators will have an increased focus on crypto firms and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to bolster anti-money laundering and financial crime prevention efforts and develop related regulations.
- FinTech / BigTech: There will be a shift in regulators’ perspective on FinTech and BigTech firms to treat them on par with traditional banks and financial institutions.
- Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG): Increased focus will be on additional responsibility from both financial institutions and regulators on the environmental and social impacts of financial crimes. This will mean 1) enhanced Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC) screening to stop doing business with entities that are associated with illegal and unethical environmental and social practices and 2) broader and more intelligent monitoring for ESG typologies / patterns, such as wildlife and human trafficking.
- Continued focus from US regulators to improve beneficial ownership transparency.
- Wider adoption of advanced analytics with cloud capabilities to better detect and prevent financial crimes with the goal of operationalizing ML/AI experiments conducted during the last few years.
Never has design thinking been more important in shaping financial services. From acquisition and origination through credit adjudication to renewal, the ease and power of intelligent user experience will become the de facto minimum standard for competitive success and retention. Data integration and orchestration through cross channel experience is foundational. Analytics at the edge is imperative for real-time decisioning.
The new smart financial ecosystem will stretch across increasingly permeable industry boundaries, as customer lifestyle choices along with data privacy and control will continue to elevate the need for provocative insights in the moment.
Very best wishes for 2022.