2021 has certainly been pivotal for many industries. With technology advancing exponentially, ESG at the forefront of boardroom agendas and COVID-19 still impacting consumer behaviour, companies are having to adapt, shift, transform and innovate in order to serve new customer needs and trends. As we come to the end of the year, many are wondering whether 2022 will hold more of the same, or whether we’ll see any new, seismic shifts. So, we’ve asked our Partner team to share their thoughts.

For the Financial Services industry, we’ve asked four of our experts, Dan Lemcke, based in Australia, and Matt Gorman, based between London and Jersey, John Stefani, based in the US, and Chris Weiss, based in South Africa, to share their insights on what we’re likely to see in the year ahead. What new trends will emerge? What is going to shift? Find their thoughts below:

Challenger banks will enter corporate banking

Before the pandemic, more than 30% of all banking customers used at least one financial service offered by a non-traditional provider; this has only accelerated this year. In 2022, traditional corporate banking will have to change to keep up with the times and customer demand. Currently, the challengers only really support the retail and SME market; it would be fun to see N26 or Starling enter this corporate banking market.

Traditional banks will be forced to adopt FinTech

2022 will see more disruptors come to the market. A number of the new players will be acquired by the traditional banks — at last, they will need to gamble on FinTech. Legacy banks will realise they cannot compete with the innovation and speed to market, as digital solutions become a comprehensive offering in the market. The big banks have smart people constrained by corporate governance and poor risk appetite, which must change.

Markets will continue exploiting new technology

We have heard this before, but especially in the corporate banking and investment/funds space with the volume of M&A activity, 2022 will see a drive for Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Sensors and Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML). This will be delivered to drive down banking costs, and make the landscape more competitive, driving the ‘big banks’ to change or have more revenue eaten away. Central Bank Digital Currency is another technology-driven development that’s made significant movements this year. In 2022, this will graduate from an interesting experiment, to a viable option for countries.

In the US, data and analytics in addition to the use of artificial intelligence will continue and evolve to be the driving force behind revenue generation, curated client experiences and sticky customers as insights to action will be the key to ensuring customers get what the want in products and services and remain loyal as a result.

Is it the year for smaller corporate banks?

We will see smaller corporate banks gaining huge revenue share. This comes as big corporate banks exit clients due to poor technology and inability to manage basic anti-money laundering (AML) and know your client (KYC) criteria for global customers. 

The US landscape

In the US, there will be greater consolidation across regional banks within the United States as super regionals look for struggling smaller banks, who have under-invested in client facing technology and have experienced a lack of branch utilization over the last couple years, to grow their loan and deposit portfolios. Physical locations for customers to visit (stores, bank branches, etc.) will be less important in 2022 as people look for convenience in getting what they want. I’m looking forward to seeing the extent to which technology and digitization impacts the customer experience over the next year.

John Stefani

The European landscape

We expect big shifts in the Financial Service industry in 2022. This is especially true after the pandemic delayed the full impact of Brexit. I think we will see a lot of jurisdictions struggling. Places like the Funds market in Luxembourg will get stronger. I’m hoping to see a new jurisdiction taking the calculated risk on cryptocurrency and pushing it into the local high-street market, making them more relevant and reducing the need for local currency. Although, G7 and even G20 will try and stop it from happening, as they will want to control the FX and taxation.  

Matt Gorman

The South African landscape

Growth in emerging markets is set to slow down in 2022 due to the possibility of the US tapering its Monetary Policy, and slower projected growth for China. The key upcoming challenges the South African financial services market are; the international response to the possible 4th wave of COVID-19, domestic energy shortages and a perceived interest rate hike by the South African Reserve Bank. However the strength of the South African currency presents a significant opportunity for international players serving as a currency with attractive yields. Furthermore, industries like Telecom, FinTech, and Industrials present real growth opportunities for investment funds over the next year.

Chris Weiss

The Australian landscape

With a limited pool of talent, particularly technological skills, the Australian financial services labour market faces a transient period. So, in 2022 we should expect to see disruption to change timelines across the industry. Indeed, the Australian funds services space will be forced to consider wider outsourcing, in a bid to avoid margin compression. Additionally, while traditional banks can finally put remediation in the rear-view mirror and think about controlled, sustainable and fully disclosed growth next year, they face the same threats as their global counterparts: the rise of smaller, nimble players. Having divested much of their wealth management estate, SME and institutional investment will be back on board room agendas next year.

Dan Lemcke

Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team.