The Financial World in 2030 – May 2016 – by futurist Marcel Bullinga
Global recruiting company Hays asked Marcel Bullinga to write a vision about the financial future. They destilled questions out of the vision and then surveyed 400 financial professionals.
Translation of the vision document by Ronald Bolier Managing Director of Shark Corporation Benelux
Since 2008, the financial sector has been under a social and political magnifying glass. The collapse of the ‘mighty and untouchable’ institutions boasted by the United States dismantled all financial institutions globally. No corner of the worldwide economy was left untouched, and it’s only in the last two years that signs of a structural recovery have begun to emerge
For many professionals, working in the financial sector during these turbulent periods has proved challenging. In addition to staffing and organisational shifts, and cultural changes in the sector; the evolution of technology has had a significant impact. Financial professionals have to compete with complex products such as bitcoins, robotics and the rise of FinTech. In addition, they must respond to these developments with stricter regulations and rigorous compliance requirements.
Financial Technology, also known as FinTech, is an economic industry composed of companies that capitalise on technology, in order to ensure the efficiency of financial services. FinanShark, as a consultative full service recruitment company, operates in the financial sector. We are in close contact with both financial institutions, and individual employees. We also carefully monitor any change within this sector. We know how important it is that question and demand go hand-in-hand.cial technology companies are generally start-ups, typically founded with the purpose of disrupting incumbent financial systems to corporations that are less reliant on software.
The economic crisis has drastically impacted the financial sector, and the effects are still noticeable. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of employees plummeted by 7% – 18% (EU).
The Future is FinTech!
FinTech acts as a vehicle for big data and artificial intelligence to permeate the financial world. We’ll see in the next fifteen years, that areas of the financial column will be consumed by software and its ability to both manage and interpret data. To illustrate this process, a comparison can be made between new software and Google Maps. When using Google Maps all that is required is a desired destination, the software does the rest. However, not only does it suggest directions, it specifies the fastest routes. The future challenge will be choosing the best route for the software to evolve, and how this software is to be implemented. The requested core competencies are of a higher level than purely executive. Also, the external audit will benefit from a greater degree of transparency and from being more system driven; thereby allowing faster audits at a lower cost.
Below are two financial features that can be expected within the next fifteen years:
For controllers, the focus gravitates towards business control, over financial control. In other words, controllers function in figures, with a clear focus on the future. The business controller analyses the added value of the available information, and considers how this information should be exploited. Also, the procedures are dictated by ‘steering,’ as opposed to being financially driven. Traditional accounting is unceremoniously replaced by ERP systems, and there is more outsourcing than ever before. The financial administrator is typically replaced by an IT specialist.
• Treasury functions:
Treasury functions are aimed at managing the financial resources of an organisation. They are hugely important for globalisation of the market, and the rise of trade in foreign currency. Large companies, which currently possess no treasury function, are setting them up. The catalyst for this is partly due to the low level of the euro, and the high level of the US dollar. In addition, more and more companies have issues with volatile currencies. This is proposed by some parties being used to earn money. The treasury department is committed more on internal audit.
A Time for Change: Analysts and Consultants
Increasing digitalisation exposes the work of analysts, who must be proficient in managing data. Analysts will become consultants as long as they’re facilitated with the right attitude and background. The focus will become increasingly on strategic consulting, and strategic decisions will be based on data-driven analytics. The other ‘non-strategic’ consultants and IT professionals will become prominent in 2030 and in addition, the roles of analysts and controllers will grow even closer to one another.
Increasing digitalisation in particular is to see in the work of analysts, who must be proficient in managing big data. Analysts can become consultants with the right attitude and background. The focus is increasingly in strategic consulting and strategic decisions are based on data-driven analytics. The other ‘non-strategic’ consultants and IT professionals have become more real in 2030 and in addition, the roles of analysts and controllers are even closer to each other.
Make Way for Artificial Intelligence: General trends of 2030
2030 will play victim to the emergence of a ‘global brain,’ an intelligence that inhabits all the devices around us. This will inevitably lead to a robot economy, a more local 3D printing industry and deforestation in professions. In addition there will be a wave of new, niche professions based on accommodating the evolved needs of the customer. As well as new technological features such as urban farming, smart city-builder, 3D printing expert and local money expert.
The most important development, however, will be robots. Over the next few years, our roles in the workplace will be rendered inadequate when compared to the evolution in (cloud) software, robots and 3D printers that we will be forced to compete with.
So, how do we ensure that we cling to our roles in the workplace? To begin with, robots will become like people. They’ll become just as social, just as independent and just as intelligent as human beings.
In order for us to remain useful in the workplace, there are two challenges we need to tackle:
– We must work on a future-proof ‘mastery.’
– We must fulfil the roles that robots demand. Each robot creates jobs, because each robot necessitates a designer, as well as someone to keep them maintained and updated. Robots also prevent outsourcing to low-wage countries. There is nothing cheaper than a CLA-free robot. Robots make services and products in the future considerably cheaper and are a prerequisite for the future prosperity of countries.
Smart Business As Usual
In 2030, the sector will have managed to repair a number of system errors. There will exist a clear distinction between innovations within the financial system, and innovations that will change this system. Innovations such as contactless payment, robot consultants and bitcoin (currency) will become incremental innovations (small steps). These innovations will also include peer-to-peer funding (in 2015 all right seven billion euros in Europe) and crowdfunding, which will continue to overshadow the need for banks.
An estimate recently unveiled that a third of banks in 2020 will have lost their value at the hands of start-ups that use smart technology. This proves a reasonable prediction when you consider that currently, more than 98% of all financial applications are not being developed by banks. There are already automated processes, that invalidate the need for banks, woven throughout society and they are becoming increasingly advanced. Consequently, employment will drastically decrease in the entire financial sector. In addition, there will be a growing trend to social banking within the sector.
An entirely new playing field of system innovations functions will emerge within the financial sector. As long as this prevails, then we can metamorphosis into another financial system; instead of #IChangeMyPersonalBank it will become #IChangeMyPersonalFinanceSystem. Money returns to its source and is no longer subject to speculation, but to trade. Globally, we get exchangeable local currencies – that you can F.I. in parts of Italy, you pay moreover all the tax – based on exchange services. Over there it becomes not to euros only anymore but to TradeQoins.
The Bitcoin currency is an object of speculation, but the technology behind Bitcoin, block chain is an important part in making money smart and transparent.
The bitcoin currency is an object of speculation, but the technology behind bitcoin, block chain is an important part in making money smart and transparent.
Elementary Watson: From ‘Soft’ technology to ‘Hard’ Transparency
An explosion of ‘soft’ technology (transparency trend) drives the financial system towards change. There will arise completely new industries around mysterious concepts such as ‘predictive analytics,’ ‘transactional trust,’ ‘user centred privacy,’ ‘big data,’ ‘personal dashboards,’ ‘social money’ and ‘life management platforms.’ There are banks that have already started to feed all financial data to the Watson Supercomputer. In Watson, everyone will form a financial assistant within five years, all money matters are handled intelligently and simply. The next step: ‘hard transparency’ faces the question of which financial data their ownership uses, or their reliability.
The result is a do-it-yourself society defined by peer-to-peer transactions and devoid of ‘banking bankers.’ New entrants, such as Apple and Google, will start functioning as bankers whilst being welcomed as innovators, though simultaneously housing the risk that they become new monopolists.
Financial Couture: The Absolution of the Human Counsellor
The result is a doSo, the question is proposed: why would a future customer want to use a human advisor? A human consultant is not only expensive, but a subjective party whose best interest is unknown. This unreliability opens the opportunity for abuses such as usury in insurance policies. As opposed to the unreliability of human advisor, an anti-fraud app is developed which adopts the role as the customer’s bank, and checks insurance as well as replacing the profiteering policies. But, it goes even wider than that. The robot consultant composes a tailor-made investment portfolio based on faultless calculations and algorithms.-it-yourself society with the motto: peer-2-peer money and without Banking Bankers. New entrants as Apple and Google as ‘Banker’ profile who indeed are welcomed spinning-wheels-of-innovation into the market, simultaneously houses the risk that they become new monopolists.
The CFO of the Future
The future challenge will reside in making a choice out of the plethora of new platforms, apps and software. This issue is not limited to the financial, but rather performs on an organisation wide scale. The second future challenge is in how to analyse finance holistically. Not separately to pensions and residential mortgages, but the combination of the two – because that’s how the customer experiences it. The customer will no longer pay extortionate overhead costs, for example, the pension industry of today. The customer will require a smart, efficient app that advises him independently, all for a small monthly fee. Though arguably the customer may desire a human consultant because of the amiability of associating with a person – provided that they also use those smart timesaving apps.
The Controller of the Futuree
• All control is business centred as opposed to financially centred; looking ahead instead of looking back..
• IT specialist rather than a financial administrator: Less finance, more audit.
The Analyst and Consultant of the Future
• Lower hourly rates to compete with apps and platforms
• Reduce the boundaries between the professions i.e. between analyst, controller and consultant.
• Reduced operational consultancy, IT consultancy and more strategic consultancy from widely available and cheap big data analytics.
• Consultants become people who can proficiently speak publicly. There is a leaning away from the factual and reaching towards more ‘softer’ core competencies such as adaptability, critical reasoning, sense of technological direction, feelings for ‘newness.’