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Digitalisation Will Make Most Banks Irrelevant by 2030 - Gartner

Posted by Anna Mielczarek on 06-Nov-2018 07:30:00

Traditional banks and insurance companies are facing extinction in the next 12 years due to increased digitisation in the financial services sector. 80 percent of traditional banks and financial services firms will be made irrelevant by 2030, and only 20 percent of traditional financial firms will remain as ‘winners’ according to a new research by Gartner.

These findings were presented to the audience on the 29th of October at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia by David Furlonger, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Zukunft-des-Bankenwesenssource: future-customer
The report from Gartner says that established, traditional banks and other financial institutions such as insurance companies face a growing risk of failure if they continue to maintain 20th-century business and operating models.

By 2030, 80 percent of heritage financial services firms will go out of business, or exist only formally but not competing effectively, according to Gartner, Inc. These firms will struggle for relevance as global digital platforms, FinTech companies and other non-traditional players e.g. challenger banks and start-up companies gain greater market share, using technology to change the economics and business models of the industry. 

‘Established financial services providers will have to move faster on digital business by building digital platforms or finding niche products and services to sell on others’ platforms.’

(David Furlonger, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner)


Essentially, according to Gartner’s 2018 CEO survey, while financial services CEOs continue to prioritise revenue growth, there has been a clear shift toward emphasising efficiency and productivity improvements and the importance of management as growth levers. This shift indicates that digital business is predominantly a channel and transaction automation play, focused on business optimisation as opposed to a transformation.

Pete Redshaw, practice vice president at Gartner, emphasises the dangerous nature of this attitude as it underestimates the degree of change that digital technology will bring to the industry. He also stated that the future of the financial services industry is increasingly weightless, requiring few physical assets to establish or maintain a presence, while noticing that it makes the industry especially vulnerable to disruption by digital competitors.

Moreover, the report highlights that emerging technologies such as Blockchain offer transformational opportunities by creating trust between parties that do not know each other, without intermediary relationships that incumbent financial firms cultivate. Equally, peer-to-peer consensus algorithms can directly match borrowers to those with money, without requiring a bank to mediate.

‘The biggest mistake financial services CIOs make is putting too much focus on technology […] They should push their organisations for a more coherent response to digital business — it’s important to set the digital vision and destination first, then think about how to lead an organisation there.’    

(Pete Redshaw, practice vice president at Gartner)


According to Gartner, of the 20% of traditional firms that will remain as aforementioned winners, three types will flourish:

  • Power-law firms: Companies that own a digital platform will use its scale, low-cost infrastructure and the customer information it generates to create new services and enter new markets. Very few (5 percent) of these winning heritage institutions have the ability to become power-law firms.
  • FinTechs: Individual companies or pure-play/neobank subsidiaries will disaggregate traditional financial services in discrete product areas. They will participate in digital platforms, but will not own them. Less than 15 percent of the winning group of traditional firms can convert themselves into or successfully spin off FinTechs.
  • Long-tail firms: The dramatically lower costs enabled by digital platforms will allow some traditional providers to act as service brokers. This is likely for large populations of poor and working-class people around the world that were not profitable customers previously. Simultaneously, they can act as concierge providers of bundled offerings to high-net-worth individuals. Around 80 percent of winning traditional financial services providers can become long-tail firms.


It is also worth noting that the speed of digital transformation in financial services partly depends on regulation, as well as customer demographics and behaviours, which will vary from country to country. In some nations, conservative regulations will inhibit innovation, while other countries, such as Australia, Brazil, China, India and the UK, will use regulation to speed transformation.



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Topics: Finance, Digital Transformation, Change and Innovation, Challenges