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Regulation is the Biggest Barrier to Digital Innovation for UK Financial Institutions

New research released by FIS™ reveals that the greatest barrier to UK financial institutions developing digital products, services and operations is regulatory compliance risk.

The findings are from FIS’ global Readiness Report, which shows that, by comparison, the biggest barrier to digital innovation for US firms is complex legacy IT systems, and overall cyber security risk was most prevalent.

Globally, the report found that the operational performance gap between leaders and the rest of the industry is closing, driven by accelerated adoption of cloud technology and automation. 

Where this gap exists, Readiness Leaders (the firms that score in the top 20% against the FIS Readiness Index) are focussed on using AI for more complex tasks, such as improving customer experience, boosting cyber security and preventing fraud, while the rest of the industry is using it to improve operational efficiencies, risk and compliance.

Martin Boyd, Head of Capital Markets at FIS said: “Overall, the UK institutions are well-developed in their digital strategies but there is still significant work to be done to modernise systems and adopt new technology to retain their competitive edge.

Financial services leaders are charting a path to future success by aligning technology, operations and talent to support new business models.”

Other key findings include:

  • The UK is advanced in migrating critical operations to the cloud: 38.5% of UK respondents are in the process of or have already migrated some of their mission-critical infrastructure to the cloud, compared to 32.4% in the US and just 22.5% globally.
  • UK institutions lag behind global leaders in adopting open technology: The majority of UK institutions (53%) are wary about adopting APIs because of concerns over opening their data and functionalities or wanting to wait for industry standards – while 40% of global leaders have already implemented APIs.
  • UK institutions are using AI technology for basic tasks: 46% of UK firms are focussing on applying AI to basic tasks such as automating processes rather than value-add activities such as personalised advice (26.4%).
  • Emerging tech, risk management and organisational structure is driving faster growth: Despite the closing operational performance gap, globally, leaders continue to grow their annual revenue more than twice as fast as the rest of the industry by better applying new technologies, sourcing and managing the best talent and aligning organisational culture with their strategic vision.  

Boyd, continued: “While the capabilities gap is closing, all financial institutions need to leave legacy models behind, move towards a more agile, open innovation model and take a targeted approach to emerging technology to maintain a growth advantage.”

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