CHAPTER 12Getting the Right Stuff

Mike Thompson

During my career in banking I have often heard the throw-away line: ‘banks are just tech companies with a balance sheet’. While this has an element of truth, the reality is that banks are still, at their heart, service organisations, and service organisations fundamentally rely on the calibre and skills of their people. The advent of large-scale fintech will not alter that. What fintech will change, I would argue, is the way in which banks need to address staff education. Further, and somewhat ironically, the demands of cutting-edge technology are going to make banks return to recruitment and training models they used in the past: the support of professional bodies and school-leaver apprenticeships.

That might sound unlikely. After all, it is clear that, across all sectors of the economy, the conveniences of technology are upending consumer behaviours and preferences at a fast clip. That puts pressure on financial services to keep up, and in a number of ways, as does the inexorable growth in regulation. However, none of the innovation has altered what financial services firms actually do for consumers and for society more widely, which is manage financial risk. So, while the skills ...

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