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Role of technology in financial services

However, many people blamed systemic failure of algorithms as much as culture and circumstance for the financial crisis. As a result, we as an industry have had to work harder than ever to rebuild trust in ourselves and in the systems behind us.

Since then, policymakers and regulators have recognised the need for financial market reforms and understood that better financial technology would have a major role in providing more timely financial information to consumers.

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Many firms realised long ago that, to attract and retain clients, they needed to engage with them in a different way. Technology has driven a relentless demand for convenience, immediacy, technical proficiency and innovation. You can now reach anyone, anywhere and at any time. Convenience saves time and saving time saves money.

The financial services industry has already made significant steps with these ‘new’ technologies. Many consumers now bank online rather than visiting a branch. Others transfer money to a friend with one swipe of a smartphone app or tap their bank cards on machines to pay for lunch. A consumer’s financial management is no longer restricted by nine to five opening hours or paper statements.

We have all witnessed the seismic developments in technology. You only need to look around a typical living room to see an array of smartphones, tablets and flat screen TVs to realise how far society has come in 10 years. Children as young as two are playing with smartphones and social networking among internet users over 50 has nearly doubled within the last year.

While some technological innovation is being driven from within the sector, new entrants such as Google, Facebook, eBay and Square have recognised the lack of progress in parts of the sector, namely payments, as offering fertile ground.

As a sector we recognise that there are a number of new and rapidly accelerating trends emerging and that technology can no longer simply be an add-on at the periphery of our business. It is more than a delivery system and its capabilities and opportunities can transform product development and the way we engage with customers.

As such, the Tax Incentivised Savings Association has formed the Tisa Technology Innovation Forum to assess how technology can be better harnessed to close the savings gap, making financial services more accessible, and how it can support the different stages and savings opportunities in a consumer life cycle.

The forum has been driven by the ongoing Tisa Savings & Investment Project, which looks at the challenges of UK consumer debt, with a large part of this problem resulting from a lack of a long-term savings culture.

Over the past six years, confidence and customer loyalty has fallen significantly, driven by the greater ease with which people can switch brands. This is most apparent in retail banking. As a result, new market entrants are appealing to younger people who demand instant access to information and the level of customer experience that they would expect from a retail or leisure brand. Superior analytics and database technologies are critical to providing a single view of the customer across all products and enabling them to provide products and services targeted on specific individuals and group behaviours.