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What Disruptive Trends impacted Banking the most in 2020?


When we started the Editorial plan for 2020 there were some slightly different trends on the agenda than the ones we are seeing today. And, for all that Blockchain has been pushed by many for the last few years as the biggest disruptive technology to hit Banking since online banking, we didn’t see it as the biggest gamechanger of 2020. Nor did our readers, from what we have been able to assess.

We started the year strong with talk of Asia, the changing landscape in the US, and how Fintechs continue to thrive in the UK.  Things soon changed though. With the Pandemic dictating most of the editorial plan for the rest of the year after March.

Next year we hope for clear horizons and a return to the adventurous journalism travelling to where the stories happen allows for. And although it’s been great covering global locations from Lockdown, it perhaps hasn’t added enough flavour to the stories we are trying to share.

In 2020 so far, we had some very unusual visitors, probably helped by the digital world coming into our kitchens and living rooms. We had hits on #DisruptionBanking from a total of 176 countries around the world including places such as Iceland, Albania, Mongolia, Ecuador, the Maldives and Jamaica. Of course, our main readers are dominated by readers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, India, Germany and Poland which has helped to direct our Editorial too.  

We started the year much like we ended it, with a story about something going on in Singapore.

The story was about an ambitious move into Fintech and Banking by Razer, who ultimately failed in their bid, for now. Jack Ma’s Ant Group themselves were awarded a digital wholesale-bank license in Singapore, but Razer will have to look at other markets instead:

Razer has a huge online community and their 3.3 million followers on Twitter probably won’t worry too much about the challenges of getting a Digital Banking License.

It just goes to show how Singapore continued to develop as a Fintech Nation in 2020. Coincidentally our readers from Singapore doubled in 2020, with more readers than ever familiarising themselves with Disruptive Trends in Banking.

Our biggest readership growth came from China though, with more people from China clicking on #DisruptionBanking than ever before.

Things continued normally while it was January and our team even managed to cover a few StartUp pitches in Shoreditch:

It doesn’t seem like the initiative by the London Entrepreneur and Investor Network (LEIN) survived much into the Pandemic, and with it the host of events that we normally cover also started to dry up.

What happened next?

The biggest topics that we saw trending were clear:

These were also huge topics, perhaps less surprisingly:

  • China
  • Singapore
  • Elephant in the Room (COVID-19)

We summarized the first group of topics in more detail.

DeFi – Colossal Disruptive Trend in Banking

Of all of the stories, and of course, apart from the Elephant that is the Pandemic, DeFi has been the one to have had the biggest impact on Banking in 2020. We should have known that, looking at the credentials of Julian Sawyer, but it’s possible that even he didn’t foresee how far DeFi would go! The story in February is a great introduction to the concept of Stable Coins. Watching what the Central Banks have had to say in 2020 so far, it seems like Sawyer was on the Money, be that Digital, Fiat or Stable:

Cloud – Considerably Growing Disruptive Trend in Banking

One of the Banks that always seem to make the news is Deutsche Bank. Whether it’s something to do with Donald Trump’s Private Banker or something about Tata Consultancy Services buying up their Tech division, there is always news at Deutsche Bank. Our readers thought the same with our most viewed story of 2020 being why Deutsche Bank is investing billions into Tech.

The quote of the piece remains the famous words of the Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Bank, Christian Sewing:

“Together with our partners, we want to use the cloud as an accelerator for innovation, for example, by deploying more artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. We’ll be able to accomplish more and innovate more – and we’ll be cutting our costs as we do so.”

Sewin declared 13 billion Euros towards Tech by 2022, and the Pandemic has certainly not put the brakes on his pledge. Deutsche Bank is not the only bank spending on Cloud, JP Morgan are well ahead on this one. In one of our pieces we highlighted how In 2017 JP Morgan spent $7 billion on Tech. They even ran their own survey amongst 130 CIOs about which Cloud Platforms are most popular.

Many banks work with more than one Cloud services provider. If banks want to upgrade their legacy systems then more and more of them will inevitably join the list of clients amongst the 3 dominant Cloud service Providers. The market is still developing and the potential for growth is huge.

Microsoft is leading the pack, and their CEO is active on Twitter:

Artificial Intelligence – Ethically Disruptive Trend in Banking

Through the Summer we had a lot of interest in our Video series: #DisruptionChat, where the most popular topics that trended were predominantly linked to Artificial Intelligence. Whether it was the innovative Druid Chatbot Platform from Romania or the intriguing Wonderland AI Summit from Serbia, everyone seemed to want to know more about AI.

Last week, Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive of Google, spoke with the Financial Times about a few different topics including how Google might be seen as an underdog:

“There are many areas where we are challengers, be it cloud or be it commerce or be it trying to make a phone.”

When it came to Artificial Intelligence though, he was less forthcoming than perhaps one would hope for:

“I just call it AI,” he shared “AI over time will be more general in nature. I still think we have ways to go – but I think it’s one of the most profound things we are working on.”

Pressed on the subject of Google’s former co-head of AI ethics, Timnit Geburs’, claims that she was fired, Pichai also chose not to comment in any great detail:

Brexit – Permanently Disruptive Trend in Banking

It’s over, in just a few hours after this piece is published the United Kingdom will finally part way with the European Union after a love affair that has lasted over 40 years.

Ian Hall, Lead Journalist, joined the Editorial team at #DisruptionBanking in May 2020 to help shed light on both the Brexit process as well as EU regulation and innovation. What a job he has done. His Banking on a Brexit Deal story shed light on some of the intricacies of EU and UK negotiations and how London’s capital markets have had to cope with the transition period.

Worries about a Hard Brexit might have dispersed during the Christmas festivities, but many of us will always be remembered as Brexiteers or Remainers. Which one were you?

Quantitative Finance – Less Disruptive Trend in Banking

2020 introduced many new definitions to the Quant dictionary. Zura Kakushadze brought us the idea of “quant bust” while words expressed in Matthew S Rothman’s “Turbulent Times in Quant Land” were rekindled. Our third most looked at topic of 2020 was the world of the Quantitative Analyst, culminating in our Media Partnership with The Quant Conference.

Quantitative Finance and Investment Banking remained a focus for the Editorial Team throughout 2020, with Credit Risk coming up as a hot topic for a large majority of our readers.

ESG – Sustainable and Disruptive Trend in Banking

It’s not just for publicly listed companies anymore, ESG has become an ever more present concept throughout 2020. When Greta Thunberg met Sir David Attenborough on Skype back in January, it didn’t seem as significant as perhaps it does today:

ESG trended high amongst our readers with our story about Apex ESG Ratings & Advisory a few weeks ago proving particularly popular. Markets across the world now are focussing on Sustainability and even China has made some significant pledges to reduce their carbon footprint.

India – Necessary Disruptive Trend in Banking

With one of the youngest and largest populations in the World it was high time someone like Bill Gates came out and told the world what’s what when it comes to India. It wasn’t enough that the Chief Executives of Google and Microsoft both hail from Chennai and Hyderabad in India respectively. We needed another reminder.

Miss our India Special?

Other Trends in Banking

Topics like China, Singapore and COVID-19 are definitely Disruptive Trends that have impacted Banking in 2020. Singapore strengthened its position as the leading Fintech Nation, whilst China was on our newsfeeds more than ever.

Perhaps there still could have been a little more interest in China, but it is encouraging to see how people are seeking out information and not just relying on infographics on Social Media to dictate what they believe or not.

We are convinced that all of the Trends we have covered in this story, will continue with us into 2021. Some of them may merely ‘linger’ like Brexit and, hopefully, COVID-19, the others will ALL continue to rise in popularity.

Why have we mentioned these specific stories today? Because from the content we have shared on either our site or through our Social Media channels, these topics have raised the most interest and attracted the most readers.

#PerfectStorm #weareevents #donttakeusbackto2020 #ESG #Brexit #Cloud #ArtificialIntelligence #Trends #Disruptive #Banking #QuantBust #TurbulentTimes #DigitalIndia #DisruptionBanking

Author: Andy Samu

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