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Financial services: Key lessons for 2022

Alex Ellerton Alex Ellerton

Alex Ellerton explores how learnings from this year will be essential for your business in 2022 and discusses your key challenges. Covering everything from ESG and regulatory changes to workplace risks and resilience and transformation. 

This year has been unique for firms. As we move past the immediate impact of COVID-19, the sector has started to operate within a ‘new normal’ - regulators have pushed the re-start button and are now urging the market to adapt. Firms must focus on strengthening frameworks and prepare for another wave of change. Reflecting on our key lessons from 2021 will help you get there. 

Early next year, we'll highlight the top 10 themes for financial services, looking more closely at capital markets, banking, insurance and investment management. Our insights discuss key market-driven trends for the year ahead that firms must navigate. To be the first to know when we publish our key resources and to keep on top of the latest developments, sign up here

Our experts have identified the lessons, trends and considerations for you to take into 2022.

ESG, sustainability and climate

2021 launched sustainability to the top of the agenda. For financial services firms, risks and opportunities in ESG and climate are around every corner, but many firms are still unsure of what it means for them. Firms must consider key points when building ESG frameworks

COP26 highlighted the focus on sustainability. Now, regulators are turning that attention into draft proposals and plans to capture firm’s ESG profile – notably around disclosures. Firms must allocate sufficient expertise and resources to keeping up with regulatory changes. 

To manage sustainability changes, opportunities and risks look at our financial services ESG hub

Regulatory reporting and changes

As we move past the emergency phase of coronavirus, regulators are shifting towards new requirements and tightening existing rules. Firms are struggling to keep up with the stream of resources – reports, discussion papers, draft proposals – that are being published. Keep up to date with regulatory changes through our weekly financial services regulatory blog

Regulators have issued subtle warnings as reminders for financial services firms that they must maintain the integrity of their regulatory returns. This includes looking at remediation plans, self-assessments, operating models, control environments, and independent assurance. 

We have recently published our regulatory handbook, which looks at the regulatory landscape for financial services. Download your copy of the UK regulatory handbook 2022.

Workplace and people risk

To manage all these ongoing changes, firms must have the right quantity and quality of skilled labour. Firms have already cited workforce shortages as a major obstacle to growth – an issue that has broader implications in the sector. Attracting and retaining the right talent is a top priority. 

Regulators are also eyeing this area, pushing firms to focus more on leadership support and development, as well as broadening mindset and capabilities. While firms are broadly compliant with new rules, there is still more to be done on embedding personal accountability into an organisation.

Find out how to address the deepening skills gap in the UK mid-market.

Resilience and transformation

Operational resilience has come under increasing regulatory scrutiny. However, more clarity is needed to allow firms to accurately identify what an important business service is. New regulation comes into effect in spring 2022 and some firms have not started the necessary work. 

Firms are also underappreciating the amount of work needed to upgrading business continuity and operational resilience frameworks, including how this interacts with legal – particularly on exit strategies. 

On transformation, companies are now carrying out strategic reviews and asking how they can deliver at pace - raising several challenges. Firms should be asking questions around agility, and the ownership and empowerment of teams to drive their own workload when aligned to commercial priorities.  

Change that has been put on the backburner is now high-priority and firms are finding that they're struggling to identify the key drivers going forward. Firms must embed operational resilience in change management. 

Data and digitisation

A robust data strategy is vital for growth. Firms can leverage data to reduce risk, streamline operations, and generate value. Building the appropriate structures and developing capabilities will continue to add value to the wider business. Regulatory focus on transparency will only keep pushing the demand for data. 

Coronavirus also accelerated the appetite for digitisation. Firms can use lessons from these overnight shifts to review and improve their existing structures. Difficulties remain in identifying and implementing robust governance structures to guide this growth

Our 2022 regulatory handbook looks closer at the cross-sector priorities, as well as the specific regulatory changes across banking, investment management, insurance, and capital markets.

Download your copy here

You can also watch our comprehensive range of webinars and our annual sector conference, which provide additional insights for the sector.

To learn more about the evolving challenges for firms and find the correct subject matter expert to support you, get in touch with Alex Ellerton.

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