5 Digital Transformation Trends Disrupting Investment Banking
At the moment, it seems as though every industry is going through a rapid digital transformation – propelled, in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made adopting tech a necessity for many – and investment banking is no different.
The world of investment banking is dynamic and ever-evolving, making keeping up with – and adapting to – industry trends incredibly important, especially concerning the phenomenon of digital transformation.
Here are the top 5 digital transformation trends shaping the investment banking industry.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Artificial Intelligence is being rapidly adopted in an increasing number of industries because it can automate time-consuming and repetitive processes – freeing up the time of analysts and other professionals – and can aggregate and gain insight into massive datasets.
In investment banking, AI is being used more and more to streamline trades – using past data to predict the best course of action for trading and even executing those trades automatically, using machine learning algorithms to make data-driven decisions.
Another application of AI in investment banking is its use in market research.
As investment bankers, investment banks must stay on top of market news. However, instead of having associates continuously monitor media sources, they can use AI to collect vast amounts of data and analyse them for sentiments relevant to investment. This application may even allow for identifying new, lucrative investment opportunities.
2. Hybrid conferences.
As we advance – influenced mainly by the pandemic – hybrid conferences will become more prevalent in investment banking.
COVID-19 forced numerous events online over the past few years, including investment banking conferences. Though this was far from ideal at the time, it did highlight some of the indisputable benefits of virtual conferencing.
Hybrid conferences will combine the best of both worlds, comprising panels and networking events that can be attended in person or online – via a virtual event platform—allowing a more comprehensive range of people from all across the world to participate in investment banking conferences and keep up to date with the most current topics in the industry.
3. SaaS sales models.
As the world continues to undergo digital transformation, countless industries – from finance to agriculture – are turning to software to make operations more seamless, efficient and cost-effective, providing limitless opportunities for SaaS businesses to step in.
More than the high demand for SaaS, the SaaS sales model has become increasingly attractive to investment bankers due to the model’s predictability and ability to scale.
The SaaS sales model typically works on a subscription basis, making it easier to predict how much revenue a company will make in the coming months and even years since SaaS customers typically require the service year on year and thus pay a monthly or annual subscription fee.
Moreover, it’s easier to scale businesses selling software than physical products since you don’t need to consider the scaling of manufacture, storage or shipping.
These factors make SaaS sales models an ever more popular prospect to investment bankers.
4. Agile processes.
Across an array of industries, businesses are switching from traditional project management methods – which typically involve delivering the entirety of a completed project at the end of a project timeline – to agile, which focuses on delivering a project in chunks, with deliveries being made much more frequently.
Agile processes are becoming increasingly popular since they allow for quick adaptation, responding well to the quickly-evolving, fast-paced business environment that exists today.
Since agile processes allow changes to be made as the project is being developed, projects are less likely to go off track due to significant change requests being made after a project is completed.
While investment banks have been slow to take up agile processes compared to other industries – most likely as a result of agile being more challenging to implement across the giant, multinational corporations – they’re beginning to realise that the benefits (being more efficient, cost-effective and producing greater quality projects) outweigh the friction involved with implementation.
5. Decentralised finance.
For centuries, centralised finance (a.k.a. our traditional banking system) has dominated the world of currency and transaction facilitation.
However, over the last decade, decentralised currencies such as Bitcoin – powered by blockchain technology and using secure ledgers that record transactions – have begun to establish themselves as a legitimate form of finance. In 2021, Bitcoin was even adopted as legal tender by El Salvador.
With the rising popularity of digital goods such as NFTs and the apparent inevitability of the metaverse, decentralised finance will only become more of a cultural (and even political) phenomenon.
As such, it will become increasingly relevant to the realm of investment banking over the coming years.