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Is Scotland’s Financial Services Sector Ready for Disruption?

Duncan MacRae


financial services staying ahead of the curve

As the financial industry continues to evolve, businesses will need to draw on their own – and each other’s – experiences, according to FinTech Scotland.

Scotland’s financial services sector is in a unique position to stay ahead of the curve, even in the face of increasing customer demands, increased regulation and technological advances, according to industry leaders.

Speaking at an event hosted by professional services firm KPMG, Blair Turnbull, UK digital managing director at Aviva; Stephen Ingledew, CEO of FinTech Scotland; David Duffy, CEO of CYBG; Andrew Freeley, CCO of Computershare Loan Services; and Melissa Kidd, chief economist at Redburn Partners, discussed the future of the financial services industry in Scotland.

The panellists shared their views on four key issues facing the sector – data and its impact on business models, customers demanding greater personalisation, regulation, and the collapse of economies of scale – themes that emerged from a series of industry interviews compiled in KPMG’s recent 30 Voices on 2030 Report.

Unique position

Speakers also agreed the relatively small size of Scotland’s financial services sector, combined with its long history and thriving start-up ecosystem, puts the country’s firms in a unique position to anticipate and drive disruption and remain agile.

Nevertheless, recent research indicates some of the innovations and changes within the banking sector are not being fully embraced by customers. According to KPMG’s inaugural Is Open Banking open for business? survey, while a quarter of the UK’s small businesses would not share their data under any circumstances, a third were wide open to the idea of exchanging data in return for time saving initiatives, especially around payments and taxes.

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Catherine Burnet, senior partner for KPMG in Scotland, said: “Representatives from both established players and start-ups agree the financial services industry hasn’t felt the full impact of disruption, despite the rise in challenger banks and the Open Banking directive coming into force this year. While Open Banking has the ability to transform the market for SMEs it’s clear that much more work is required to win that customer group over.

“Research shows that trust is key when it comes to winning over customers, making user experience a top priority for established firms. Data holds the key to simpler processes and greater personalisation for customers, and we are therefore seeing heavy investment across the industry in data science and AI to achieve this.”

Scotland’s financial services sector is in a unique position to remain agile, thanks to its relatively small size and growing network of established players and start-ups, according to Burnet.

She added: “Bringing our 30 Voices for 2030 event to Scotland is a clear demonstration of our commitment to working with our financial services clients to stay ahead of the curve.”

Stephen Ingledew, CEO of FinTech Scotland, said: “Scotland has a rich history in financial services and thanks to its diversity, has remained a key sector hub within the UK. As the industry continues to evolve, it is clear that businesses will need to draw on their own – and each other’s – experiences to deliver platforms that deliver a range of services to meet customer demand for simplicity.”

Duncan MacRae


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