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DBS, Microsoft, StanChart CEOs see financial services thrive in 2021 with accelerated digital transformation

The chief executives of DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Microsoft discuss the impact of technological transformation and COVID-19 on the future of the financial services industry

January 21, 2021 | Richard Hartung

DBS Bank CEO, Piyush Gupta, and his counterparts at Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart), Bill Winters, and Microsoft, Satya Nadella, discussed how banks’ offices will in the future become places for ideation and collaboration rather than workspaces. New tech stacks leveraging big data and artificial intelligence (AI) will give leading banks a four- to-five-year head start on full digitisation. Speaking at a conference in Singapore, the three leaders see an evolving and important role for workers of the future. While technology enables transactions, customers will still want people to help them.

Over the last decade, Gupta said that the technology industry has fundamentally lifted the bar in what customers expect. “The service at your fingertips, any time, in context. That bar is now being applied to financial services.” Moreover, companies have used data and AI to provide insights and opportunities that human beings have not been able to do.

“This year, the willingness of companies and individuals to take to digital solutions in every industry has been profound,” he commented. The fastest growing population this year (for digitisation) has been people over 60 years of age, followed by migrant labourers and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). There has also been a game-changing shift in digital payments, with cash usage in Singapore down 40% and volume on PayNow, the domestic real-time transfer network, up 60% to 70%. “None of this is because technology got developed,” Gupta opined. Instead, “the psyche changed.”

Piyush Gupta, CEO, DBS Bank

“What we have seen,” added Winters, “is an acceleration of discrete trends. The integration of finance into day-to-day consumer transactions that had been underway accelerated, and basic financial systems grew into broader ecosystems.”...

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Keywords:Financial Services, Technology, Covid-19