22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 19

In a marketplace where the boundaries between industries are melting away, it will no longer make sense to regulate entities; instead, regulators will focus on an organisation’s activities and the outcomes they achieve. This will make more sense from the perspective of consumers and other groups on whose behalf regulators are acting – who may otherwise be caught out by gaps in protection.

But it will also be crucial for innovation: as many industries become more fragmented, particularly as new entrants join from other sectors and shake-up the market, regulation will need to mirror the fragmentation in order to avoid stifling transformative ideas.

Rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ regulatory approach, where regulators focus on compliance with detailed rulebooks, they will look at the outcomes of the activities that regulated companies undertake; their role will be to ask whether these activities are safe and generating benefits for customers.

As this shift takes place, regulators will automatically begin to regulate firms more proportionally, according to factors such as the size of the firm, its reach and revenue. They will also look to leverage the very technologies driving fragmentation and transformation for themselves – implementing tools such as AI and blockchain to improve their own processes.

Trends in regulations focusing on outcomes


Regulators will continue to prioritise consumer safety and security, but this shift in approach will help drive innovation and transformation in industries that are currently heavily-regulated – itself a consumer benefit. It will enable both new and existing players to launch new products and services in markets ranging from financial services to aged care.

Processes and collaboration will also improve, enabling regulated firms to offer customers a higher quality, more frictionless experience in a landscape where ecosystems and combined capabilities will be key.

As for regulators themselves, while technology advances will support the autonomous supervision of many activities, the human element of regulation will not disappear.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions


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