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Leaders On the Impact of COVID-19: The Financial Sector

“As we have witnessed in the past few weeks, social distancing has forced many to work remotely, and accelerated the adoption of digital tools. I expect the trend to continue post-pandemic as more organizations reap the benefits of reduced rent obligations with less office space. Unfortunately, we will also likely see a shift in resource needs in some areas such as call centers, where companies are increasing adapting AI and automation capabilities to augment capacity.”
Theodora Lau, Founder, Unconventional Ventures

By: Leah Kinthaert, Contributor. 13th October 2020.

Fintech thought-leader Theodora Lau proposes that the digital transformation sped up by COVID-19 will have an impact far beyond the usage of new digital tools, affecting everything from real estate prices to employment. At least some of her predictions from late this spring may already be coming true, in July Fortune reported that “a survey of wealthy investors by UBS this week found more than half of well-to-do Europeans in Britain, Germany, France, and Italy now wish to move away from cities to less populated areas. A third of rich Americans said something similar.”

We decided to do a deep dive into how COVID-19 is impacting our global customers so we could share this crucial data with them and with you, the reader. Why are people in sectors from the life sciences to maritime innovating? Where are they doing it? How successful are their efforts? We surveyed our customers, our speakers, and thought leader contacts of Informa Connect, to ask them how their organizations are responding to the crisis. Our initial research told us that the most important changes happening right now in organizations fell into these categories: how organizations manage crises, both before and after COVID-19; the shift to online and working from home or other changes in the workplace; how companies are trying to be relevant to their customers; and lastly, how they have applied innovations with new business initiatives or products and creating efficiencies. We’re offering our exclusive findings here, in this first-of-its-kind multi-sector report on The Future of Business Post COVID-19.

Lau’s prediction that many will choose to work from home, one of many disruptions caused by COVID-19, is reflected in data from our finance audience surveyed. In the 2020 Informa Connect report The Future of Business Post COVID-19, almost 92% of respondents in the finance sector believe that remote working, for some of the staff or a large number of the staff, will be sustainable for their organizations in the long term.

In The Financial Brand, Jim Marous tells us that: “As the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic extends, more consumers are adjusting to vastly different daily behaviors. From increases in working from home and ordering take-out food to reductions in visiting friends or going to a workout facility, everything has changed… According to J.D. Power, only 46% of consumers will go back to ‘banking as usual’.”

Based on our survey results, the finance sector has been one of the most responsive to customer needs, with 31% of those surveyed developing a new product or service, 30% accelerating the development of an already planned product, and 45% introducing new initiatives during the pandemic to better connect with customers. Several respondees mentioned specific philanthropic projects such as pro bono initiatives – in one case all employees and their family members were provided with a supply of masks and hand sanitizer – and events for charities being part of their response to COVID-19. One organization used the time to work on their Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, and several others said they focussed on more client interaction and communication including webinars and education to address the impact of the pandemic.

Whether you are interested in business strategy and innovation in finance or want to see what sectors such as the life sciences, energy, marketing, and human resources are up to post COVID-19 – our new Informa Connect report The Future of Business Post COVID-19 offers a wealth of information on how businesses are responding and thriving.