Deloitte’s Financial Services Innovation Awards puts spotlight on Irish industry's success
As Deloitte launches its inaugural Financial Services Innovation Awards, we examine the conditions that allowed Ireland emerge as a global financial services hub
Pictured at the launch of the awards are judging panel members (L-R): Joe Duffy, chair, Executive Board, Financial Services Ireland; David Dalton, head of Financial Services, Deloitte Ireland; Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland; Mai Santamaria, head of the Financial Advisory Team, Department of Finance; and Brian Hayes, CEO, Banking & Payments Federation Ireland.
That Ireland, a country on the edge of the Atlantic with a population of less than five million people, could establish itself as a global financial services hub is a remarkable achievement.
It is an achievement built on innovation. In launching its inaugural Financial Services Innovation Awards programme Deloitte celebrates that achievement.
“We’re delighted to launch the inaugural Deloitte Financial Services Innovation Awards,” says David Dalton, head of Financial Services at Deloitte Ireland.
“The financial services industry is changing, and changing rapidly. New entrants, new technologies, and changing customer expectations are driving financial services companies to evolve how their businesses and processes work. As a result, we are seeing some very strong innovations, collaborations and technology applications that are transforming the industry and bringing customer centricity to the forefront of agendas.
“We see a level of innovation in the financial services industry and an ecosystem in Ireland not seen before, and this is establishing Ireland as a hub for innovation internationally. We think those pioneering this innovation should be recognised, not only to showcase the strength of the financial services industry in Ireland in the global marketplace, but also to highlight the potential for learning across the industry for the benefit of all. It’s about recognising ideas, rewarding innovation and making an impact.”
Ireland’s financial services success is as broad as it is deep. It extends across all aspects of banking and insurance, including treasury and fund management, runs through specialist areas such as corporate aviation, and, thanks to the advent of digital technologies, flows on into newer areas such as FinTech, InsurTech, PayTech and RegTech.
Ireland punches above its weight in all these areas. It is the fourth largest exporter of financial services in the EU. More than 250 of the world’s leading financial services firms have operations here. Almost half of all global hedge fund assets are serviced in Ireland.
More than 250 of the world’s leading financial services firms have operations in Ireland
Ireland specialises in fund administration, the ongoing valuation, accounting and processing of records relating to funds. The number of funds domiciled here, authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, is just over 7,400, with assets of almost €2.6 trillion.
Ireland supports funds that are sold to people across the world, from the UK to Singapore, rather than to a domestic market. This has enabled it to develop a very high degree of expertise and experience in global, cross-border funds administration and a reputation for being fast and efficient in the provision of these services.
Ireland is home to some of the biggest names in global financial services, from Bank of America Merill Lynch, to Barclays and Sumitomo Mitsui.
It is English speaking, works off a common law legal framework and has a favourable time zone for working with the world’s biggest asset management centres, in London and New York. What’s more, Ireland’s Central Bank is held in very high regard internationally.
But not alone does Ireland excel at financial services, Ireland’s successful FDI policy has seen it attract the world’s top technology companies. Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world.
Newer technology companies such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, Amazon and PayPal, have joined long-established ICT companies here, such as Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple. Each have helped foster Ireland’s perhaps uniquely collegiate, connected and collaborative start-up ecosystem.
It allows Irish FinTechs an unrivalled ability to secure expertise. Very many of Ireland’s FinTech and RegTech founders have typically worked in the financial services sector at senior level, giving them firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced.
In developing solutions, they are helped by the fact that Ireland’s government policy is supportive of research, development and innovation.
Deloitte has helped the financial services sector keep abreast of the changes that each new wave of innovation has wrought
Enterprise Ireland is one of the largest investors in FinTech start-ups in the world. Partnerships between business and academic research, of the kind that leads to deep tech innovations such as machine learning, large-scale data analytics, blockchain and artificial intelligence, are actively encouraged through government policy. All of this has provided fertile ground for the innovative solutions that have emerged here in relation to FinTech, the nexus where financial services and technology meet.
Initially, the rise of FinTechs was pitched as a battle between legacy banks and disrupters. In fact the future will be much more symbiotic, as legacy banks seek out and adapt the best FinTech innovations.
The EU’s new Payment Services Directive is forcing traditional banks to speed up the digitisation of their operations and to open them up to third parties, providing access to everything from customer data to payment infrastructure, to enable them to build innovative new services.
New innovations are required in payments and, in the face of ever-increasing regulatory burdens, RegTech innovations that ensure compliance are actively sought out as providing a way to both mitigate risk and indeed provide a competitive advantage in terms of customer on-boarding and user experience.
Banks are already using biometrics and artificial intelligence to meet ongoing customer due diligence needs.
Their willingness to innovate is no surprise. Despite their innate conservatism, the financial services sector has a long history of adopting technology. Banks have been ‘doing digital’ since the 1950s. Indeed, thanks to Fexco, Ireland has a forty year track record in FinTech innovation, too.
Throughout all this change, growth and development, Deloitte has been working closely with financial services companies across the island of Ireland. Whether indigenous or overseas, storied or start-up, Deloitte has helped the financial services sector keep abreast of the changes - the challenges and the opportunities - that each new wave of innovation has wrought.
One recent example is Deloitte’s collaboration with the Institute of Banking, Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank in developing a new financial services industry education platform based on blockchain technology. The new platform is a first in the European financial services industry and will support the verification, tracking, and management of regulatory credentials and educational qualifications. This initiative will result in reduced annual costs, reduced risk and enhanced user experience across the banking industry.
Because of its position at the cutting-edge of financial services innovation, Deloitte is proud to launch its inaugural Financial Services Innovation Awards.
The awards will span a number of categories, including most innovative product and service, operations and customer experience. It will include accolades for social and sustainable entrepreneurship, for learning and leadership, and for RegTech and Fintech.
Recognising both individuals and companies that are leading the way in innovation, applications are open to all organisations operating within the financial services industry on the island of Ireland.
The Deloitte Financial Services Innovation Awards are being run in partnership with Financial Services Ireland, Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, and The Irish Times.
Judges include Deloitte’s financial services industry leader in Ireland, David Dalton; Enterprise Ireland; chief executive Julie Sinnamon; Brian Hayes of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland; Joe Duffy of Ibec’s Financial Services Ireland and Mai Santamaria, senior Financial Advisor at the Department of Finance.
In judging, they will lean on the work of innovation consultancy Doblin, a Deloitte company. Its 10 Types of Innovation is a universally recognised template from which to build corporate breakthroughs.
The deadline for applications is Friday, August 16th, and winners will be announced at a lunch celebration on Friday, September 20th. Enter now at deloitte.ie/fsia