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Frontiers in Finance: Growth in difficult times

Frontiers in Finance: Growth in difficult times

It is difficult to form a clear judgment at the moment about the state of economic performance and its impact on the financial services industry. Every month, statistics are scanned for signs of consistent trends; but the picture remains confused. Recovery in one place is offset by further gloom elsewhere – and is itself reversed a month later. Perhaps the "new normal" which everyone is seeking to define will simply be characterized by continuing uncertainty and unpredictability.   Financial services firms therefore face a twin challenge. They need to develop new business models for the new, post-crisis environment; but it remains unclear exactly what this environment will look like. At the same time, though, they have to rebuild turnover and profitability, and deal with the increasingly demanding – and sometimes inconsistent – new regulatory measures being imposed on them. A focus on the short-to-medium term is understandable, but it is producing mixed results; efforts to reduce costs and improve capital efficiency are failing to feed through to higher profits because of low interest rates and higher regulatory demands.


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The latest issue of Frontiers in Finance reflects a number of aspects of this search for growth in difficult times:

  • Western Banks in Asia – what does it take to succeed? In most Asian countries, the market share of Western banks is very low, and this has not changed much over the last 5–10 years. Why is this? And what do Western banks need to do if they are to make a success of growing in Asia?
  • Rethinking operations – Embracing transformation in a rapidly-changing market: The foundations of the capital markets sector are shifting. Leading firms are realizing the growing need to transform their operations to defend their market share and position themselves for the competitive battle ahead.
  • Unlocking the opportunity within – Predictive analytics and modeling in Insurance: Insurers have always sought to analyze customer metrics. Understanding the potential for loss or damage and the propensity to claim are fundamental to risk management.
  • Pivot, tweak or pounce – Strategic challenges in wealth management: The private banking sector used to have a reputation as being rather close as well as lucrative. However, multiple developments in the last few years have driven major change. The opportunity remains to develop sound, profitable business. But clear strategic decisions are needed.

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