Watch the FT Live Digital Dialogues: Banking leaders discuss keeping pace with growth, digital transformation and driving operational efficiency

May 25, 2021

In a live webinar hosted by the Financial Times, Clare Hart, CEO of Williams Lea, joined two top operational leaders in the corporate and investment banking industry, David Sliney, Chief Operating Officer of investment bank, Stifel and Paul Poggi, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of specialist M&A advisor, Harris Williams, in a panel discussion on the intense pressure within corporate and investment banks to find better and more cost effective ways of running core support functions.

The webcast recording is available to view on-demand.

Here are some of the key points made during the discussion:

  • Digital transformation is a major operational challenge. In an attendee poll taken during the session, 64% saw digital transformation as the biggest operational challenge within corporate and investment banking. Every business unit is asking for more digital engagement to help bankers to work together more seamlessly on behalf of their clients. And it’s happening at warp speed.
  • Operational improvements should be quantified. Operational efficiency can be measured in several ways including benchmarking against peers in the same industry, time and cost savings, and staff surveys. While the most important metrics of operational efficiency for banks are revenue growth and pre-tax margin, banks should still continuously look for new ways of harnessing and presenting data and analytics to drive efficiency.
  • Outsourcing can help reduce the workload of junior bankers. The incredible work the young junior bankers and analysts have done in the last year is overshadowed by media focus on banker and analyst burnout, especially as the lines between the home and the office have been blurred with record levels of activity seen during the pandemic. Outsourcing less strategic activities can help reduce the burden on young bankers. It can make them more efficient and give them back some time.
  • The office of the future will be different. There is little doubt that the profile of the expensive city center office will change. Offices will be used less for routine work and more as a collaborative space, a place to bring clients or employees together for meetings.,
  • IT and business support services are the most likely functions banks will outsource. An audience live poll asked which operational areas their organization would most likely outsource. IT led the way with 36%, followed closely by business support services – such as presentations, business information services, and document management – at 33%.
  • Banks need to ask themselves what support services they can outsource. If the outsourced service provider selected can do the job as well as, or better, than the bank. It is a judgement call. It is up to the COO and the administrative support people to find the best way to of providing these services, either internally or externally.

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