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GOLD COAST, Australia, October 29, 2018

Gartner Says Digitalization Will Make Most Heritage Financial Firms Irrelevant by 2030

Analysts Explore Digital Leadership and Emerging Technologies for Financial Services at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 29-November 1 on the Gold Coast, Australia

By 2030, 80 percent of heritage financial services firms will go out of business, become commoditized 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 nontraditional players gain greater market share, using technology to change the economics and business models of the industry.

Speaking at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia today, David Furlonger, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner said banks face a growing risk of failure if they continue to maintain 20th century business and operating models.

Digital transformation is largely a myth as institutional mindsets, processes and structures stand firm,” said Mr. Furlonger. “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.”

According to Gartner’s 2018 CEO survey, while financial services CEOs continue to prioritize revenue growth, there has been a clear shift toward emphasizing 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 optimization as opposed to a transformation.”

Pete Redshaw, practice vice president at Gartner, said this attitude is dangerous.

“It underestimates the degree of change that digital technology will bring to the industry,” he said. “The future of the financial services industry is increasingly weightless, requiring few physical assets to establish or maintain a presence. That makes the industry especially vulnerable to disruption by digital competitors.”

In addition, 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,” said Mr. Redshaw. “They should push their organizations 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 organization there.”

According to Gartner, of the 20 percent of traditional firms that will remain as 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.

The speed of digital transformation in financial services partly depends on regulation, as well as customer demographics and behaviors, 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 U.K., will use regulation to speed transformation.

Gartner clients can read more in the report: “Digitalization Will Make Most Heritage Financial Firms Irrelevant.”

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Additional analysis and advice for CIOs in the financial services, government, retail, utilities, healthcare and manufacturing sectors will presented during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018, the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. IT executives rely on these events to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Follow news and updates from the events using #GartnerSYM.

Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include:

November 4-8, 2018; Barcelona, Spain

November 12-14, 2018; Tokyo Japan

November 13-16, 2018; Goa, India

March 4-6, 2019, Dubai

June 3-6, 2019; Toronto, Canada

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 15,000 organizations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.

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