May 18, 2015

Karen Peetz: It’s Time for Financial Services to Think Bold


In my keynote speech at the recent BAFT Global Annual Meeting in Miami, Florida, I asked the 250 attendees from leading international transaction banks to answer three questions about the speed at which their organizations are responding to disruption. More than three-quarters of the attendees said their organizations are responding too slowly to changing expectations and competitive pressure and are delivering new solutions to the market too slowly.

The reaction that financial institutions are responding too slowly to the changing landscape is consistent with what I expected. As I shared with the BAFT attendees, I worry that the financial services industry has become too complacent and hasn’t fully embraced the need to change. It may seem like we’re in a secure position because barriers to entry are high, but it’s naïve to think we’re immune from threats from disrupters like Silicon Valley venture capitalists. It may not happen overnight, but we’re in a sector that traditionally has a slower speed to market. The landscape is demanding that we change and challenge the status quo. To survive and lead, we need to embrace radical not incremental change. We have to be revolutionary, not reactionary.

We have to be revolutionary, not reactionary.