Irish bank directors rank high when it comes to tech expertise

Accenture report finds continued lack of tech expertise in boardrooms of world’s largest banks

Boardrooms of banks in Ireland have increased their technology fluency by 14 per cent in 2015. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Boardrooms of banks in Ireland have increased their technology fluency by 14 per cent in 2015. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

 

Almost a quarter of bank directors in Ireland have professional experience in technology, ranking them second in the world in terms of technology expertise, a report consultancy firm Accenture finds.

The study - Digitalising bank directors: The benefits of giving technology a seat at the boardroom table – is based on an analysis of the professional backgrounds of nearly 2,000 directors of more than 100 of the world’s largest banks by assets.

It found that the boardrooms of banks here have increased their technology fluency by 14 per cent since 2015 when a similar study was conducted to 23 per cent in 2021. This ranked Irish bank directors second globally to the UK.

However, Accenture’s study found that despite the significant increase in the adoption of digital technologies over the last few years, there is a continued lack of technology expertise in the boardrooms of the world’s largest banks.

“While banks are ramping up their technology investments to keep pace with changing consumer demands - such as the growing need for digital interaction and remote working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic - globally the boards of directors lack the technology expertise to minimise the risks and maximise the benefits of their technology investments,” it said.

The governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Gabriel Makhlouf has warned on several occasions that lenders here are failing to keep pace with digitisation and that new payment methods and platforms posed a major risk to the traditional banking sector.

Billy O’Connell, managing director of financial services at Accenture said, “The pandemic has precipitated a rapid acceleration of how banks are leveraging technology, with an increased focus on the speedy delivery of digital”.

“Ireland’s ranking is a testament to the success of boardrooms working to align their strategies with today’s changing consumer in innovative ways,” he said.