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The global financial services industry is shifting in at least three critical ways. So, if you’re sitting on the board of a company where opinions are not evolving in the desired direction, here’s what you need to share at the very next roundtable discussion.

 By Vanessa Rogers on behalf of Executive Placements 

If your firm’s banking website is pesky when accessed on a mobile device, a plan – nay, a major investment – needs to be made without delay. The reason: there are more than six billion mobile devices in use, globally, and even the unbanked, amounting to approximately 1.7 billion, have mobile phones at their disposal.

This brings us to the very first of the board-essential discussions that need to be taking place within banking institutions, and those offering fin-tech products and services. 

Mobile’s winning ticket

The thing is, as time marches on, an increasing number of the purchases consumers make will happen on a smart phone, laptop or other device that can link into Wi-Fi, at a coffee shop, the workplace, or just about anywhere else. 

Importantly, don’t drown out the protests of your colleague who is astutely studying the way in which fintech start-ups operate – without a head office or any capital-heavy infrastructure. These guys are fully switched on to the digital and connected nature of the future, whereby getting a client to download and use an app, via whatever promotion a company has going at the time, could be more vital than any other type of service that its executives are hung-up on offering.

Customers remain right as rain 

Know how board meetings, these hyper-virtual days, seem to revolve around concepts rather than concrete items that can be actioned? Yes, they should rather involve encouraging board members to keep their ears to the ground about start-ups in your market – many of whom are keen to improve on the experiences of your customers, by means of the technology they are currently tinkering with.

Here, we’re talking over and above the automation and fraud detection that have become essential back-end offerings. Moving on, companies worth their weight in … loyalty points … will be ready to invest additional time, manpower, automated energy and moolah in the asset that counts the most – their customers; and their customers’ loyalty to the brand.

Here’s a point to consider: at board meetings, do you ask the question – “What does our best customer really want?” Yes, the likes of envision that this is the very echelon in which “AI, cloud service, blockchain, and mobile” will collaborate to bring about products and services that blow their customers minds – in the most service-orientated way.

Move over banking and financial services apps alone – customers are currently seeking built-in AI assistance and personalisation, where they are notified about the products and services they need most, rather than those your firm has decided it should be selling. 

Blockchain, no chisel 

The last, but certainly not least, trend you need to bring up at your firm’s board meeting is the way in which blockchain’s distribution, encryption and consensus is creating a hugely disruptive – yet humanitarian – aspect to an industry that has traditionally been centrally controlled by banking regulators and government departments<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>

The thinking is that investing in blockchain technology, and finance jobs in South Africa, will benefit your institution by providing the opportunity to utilise the existing infrastructure while eliminating most forms of fraud; and where transparency will allow transactions to be paid across, to the correct recipients, with maximum speed and better security than any other type of transaction. 

In conclusion, those of us who do our industry reading and have a finger on the pulse of technological transformation in our niche, have a duty to speak up and share – without belittling the systems that have worked for humanity, to some extent or another, all of this time.

So here’s to welcoming the chatbots, personalised offerings, cardless options and tailor-made products and services whose biometric security measures and thoughtful touches we’ll all welcome wholeheartedly, once we’re ready – as a collective – to embrace them to the max.


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