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Fintech Firms Pose Major Threat To Big Banks' Revenues - PwC Data

Josh O'Neill

7 April 2017

Nearly 90 per cent of investment managers and global banks see financial technology firms as a threat to revenues, new data shows, highlighting how industry innovators are increasingly snatching business from the hands of those higher in the pecking order. 

Some 88 per cent of respondents to a global PwC survey are concerned they will lose money to stand-alone fintech companies, a new report from the Big Four firm shows. This figure rose from 83 per cent in the previous year's survey, and it is thought that on average up to 24 per cent of revenue is at risk. 

The report, Redrawing the lines: Fintech's growing influence on Financial Services, draws on a survey of more than 1,300 financial services professionals, including heads from global banks, investment managers and insurers. 

In a bid to stay ahead of the curve and curb profit losses, more than four in five, or 82 per cent, of respondents say they will up their number of fintech partnerships in the next three to five years. 

According to PwC's DeNovo platform, fintech start-ups have seen $40 billion of cumulative investment globally over the past four years. 

PwC says that as a result of rising interest, mutual agreements are forming between fintech start-ups and their investors; the newcomers need access to capital and clients in order to flourish, and financial behemoths are increasingly using technology to overcome legacy issues, which often include outdated IT systems and customer communication.

The report signals that partnerships will be key to fostering growth and bringing big firms' strategies “to life”, which will ultimately enable them to roll out new products to clients at a higher rate.

Mobile and digital offerings are increasingly playing a role in offering banking services to populations previously unserved by mainstream banks. 

PwC predicts that mobile technology could open up a demographic valued at $3 billion to the payments industry. 

"The financial services industry has now fully embraced fintech to help drive change and innovation,” said Steve Davies, Europe, Middle East and Africa fintech leader at PwC. “Activity ranges from partnering with fintechs start-ups, financing in-house incubators, and deploying new solutions, to testing use cases in areas like blockchain. Sustained focus on innovation is much needed and can only be a good thing for firms and their customers.

“There are few overnight successes and, unsurprisingly, as much perspiration as inspiration. There is a tension between the time needed for new ideas to mature and the expectations of firms seeking to collaborate with fintech start-ups. Managing expectations around returns is important, particularly for firms facing significant cost pressures. Embracing fintech is as much about different ways of working and problem solving as it is about deploying new technology.”