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Planning for what is next – Overcoming current challenges in Financial Services

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, every sector of industry is facing a major impact. Financial Services firms in particular are being challenged to quickly adapt to an ever-changing set of realities. Whilst we endure a full or partial lockdown for many weeks to come, I wanted to share my thoughts on the issues and challenges that will be impacting many Financial Services firms, along with some ideas on how they can navigate their way through – both to keep their employees safe, but also to support the communities they are part of.

This blog is part of a series providing support to the financial services sector. Find links to the others here.

Finding a new normal

Whilst a lot of the focus on how financial services firms are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic is centred around how they can adapt during the pandemic, there also needs to be some thought on what happens when the pandemic is over, and a new normal is in place.   

How will business models change?

  • In retail banking, will we see a great reduction in the use of physical branches? With customers unable to visit branches and struggling to connect to call centres, they are now having to use digital channels. Once they are used to this approach we may see the need for physical branches reduce, post pandemic.
  • With more roles being undertaken remotely, will that become the new norm? Will existing real estate footprints be re-factored to take into account a change in the dynamic of how people want to work?   
  • How will firms plan for the recovery rebound?  As ever, this is linked to operational resiliency; can platforms cope with an increase in demand? 

It is often said that “necessity is the mother of invention”. Speculating at the changes that will happen to financial services firms as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this could become a reality. As an example, restrictions on non-essential travel will undoubtedly be affecting the ability for firms to undertake certain functions, such as confirming a client’s identity. This in turn has resulted in both firms accelerating digital transformation initiatives, and also the regulator highlighting how non-traditional methods can be used, such as this guidance by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  

Contactless payments may become much more ubiquitous across markets following people wanting to avoid handling cash or use PINsContactless payments may become much more ubiquitous across markets following people wanting to avoid handling cash or use PINs

With the government treading very new waters, and a yet-unclear exit strategy to our lockdown, these changes to customer journeys will no doubt persist after the pandemic slows and fades. However, now is the ideal time to look at how firms can both digitise elements of their business, and also become digital businesses. Wider adoption of digital concepts - not just technology, but also cultural, people and process, such as big data, artificial intelligence and hybrid/multi-cloud architectures will all be key to how firms adapt and protect themselves once life starts to return to a new normal. Indeed, even the FCA believe that “… we can expect the social changes driven by Coronavirus to accelerate the development of digital markets”.

How HPE can help

Necessity being the mother of invention has provided an opportunity for organisations to develop a complete facility for new ways of working. Offering staff and customers a consistent service has allowed innovation to spring to the rescue. However these services need a robust and efficient infrastructure which, once developed, can support an organisation right through this pandemic and into a future of new, remote and innovative services. Our main Covid-19 support blog outlines a range of solutions that build a strong and secure infrastructure, along with the offerings from HPE Financial Services; financial solutions to ease the pressure of restricting budgets.  We’ve also shared our perspective on a nine-step guide, composed of two phases, to help organisations navigate both the immediate crisis, but also plan for the ‘new normal’ of the medium and long term.

If you’d like any more information about planning for what is next in the financial services sector, please get in touch with me.

This blog is part of a series looking at helping the financial sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can see our other blogs in the series here:


Chris Ibbitson
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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About the Author

Chris_Ibbitson

Chris is a Chief Technologist for HPE, focused on the Financial Services industry. Before joining HPE, Chris has worked at both a Global Systems Integrator, as well as at a Global Bank in a variety of senior architectural roles.

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