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New Tech to Prompt Merging of IT and Business Skills, Say PwC and GFMA

Mar 28
Tags: PwC
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New technologies will prompt investment banks to merge business and IT skills in future, according to a new report from PwC and the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA).

Entitled "Technology and Innovation in Global Capital Markets", the report was based on the findings of a survey of representative banks across Asia, Europe and the US.

On average, 82% of respondents - representing 75% of those surveyed in the US, 80% in Europe and 90% in Asia - predicted that the impact of new technologies over the next five years will lead to business and IT skills becoming more closely aligned, while future roles will have a greater focus on building and maintaining relationships.

This, the report claimed, will drive competition for skills, necessitating investment banks to devote their resources toward upskilling existing staff and revamping their company cultures in a bid to attract new talent.

PwC and the GFMA described technology as one of the most "powerful levers" that banks will be able to utilise in order to overcome industry challenges, contend with unforeseen disruption and capitalise on future opportunities.

In all, nine in ten of those surveyed claimed that the adoption of new tech would be primarily driven by the opportunity to reduce costs. However, only a quarter felt that banks were investing sufficient money toward enabling this important strategic change.

Four technologies - data and analytics, cloud computing, AI and distributed ledger technology (DLT) - were identified as having the biggest potential to transform the investment banking industry.

In order for these innovations to be effectively leveraged, banks must develop a clear data management strategy as an "immediate priority", the report insisted. At present, it warned that there is significant disparity across the industry in terms of data management maturity and the approaches taken to capitalise on the opportunities presented by technology. 

While DLT was highlighted as being potentially transformative for the industry, the report noted that significant adoption remains a longer-term priority. This is down to the current complexity of bringing DLT solutions to market at sufficient scale while allowing for integration with legacy systems and dealing with issues surrounding cybersecurity and data privacy, the authors explained.

Kenneth E Bentsen Jr, chief executive of the GFMA, called on policymakers and regulators to encourage innovation within the sector and support the adoption of new technologies. But he noted the importance of ensuring that any future regulatory framework promotes the integrity of capital markets and financial stability, while maintaining a level playing field of competition.

PwC partner Isabelle Jenkins added: "Our report shows that new technologies will drive changes across investment bank functions, their workforce, and industry partnerships. 

"Success will depend on the ability of investment banks to achieve long-term benefits from new technologies by prioritising investment, looking to collaborate where possible, identifying and developing the skills needed, and building a culture for innovation."

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