Insight & Analysis

Press release: Finastra: Singapore financial institutions leading recovery amidst constrained banking tech investments

Published: Nov 2023

28th November 2023Finastra’s annual global survey reveals Singapore’s financial institutions have been more cautious towards some new banking technologies than in previous years, whilst also showing resilience in the face of challenging economic conditions.

Press release news paper

The ‘Financial Services: State of the Nation Survey 2023’ finds three quarters of finance executives (76%) in Singapore see Banking as a Service (BaaS) and embedded finance as business growth and additional revenue generators. Whilst this suggests strong support for the emerging banking models, it is 10 percentage points lower than last year (87%). In line with this, the proportion of decision makers whose organizations have deployed or improved embedded finance capabilities dropped from 41% in 2022 to 32% this year.

Wait and see approach to generative AI

Singapore’s finance executives are also displaying more caution regarding artificial intelligence (AI). Some 30% say their financial institution has improved or deployed AI technology in the last 12 months, compared to 41% in 2022. At that time, Singapore scored highest in this area, ahead of all other markets surveyed.

This caution extends to generative AI. Whilst four out of five (81%) decision-makers say their institution is at least interested in the technology, this includes just 16% whose organizations have started rolling it out – the lowest proportion globally and less than half of those in Hong Kong (38%), which has the highest deployment in this year’s survey. Over a third (37%) appear to be taking a wait and see approach, saying their organizations are interested but have not yet started exploring the technology.

Stability in the face of challenging conditions

The challenging economic climate has affected banks’ investment plans globally, with significant proportions in every market saying their financial institution’s investments in technology and digital banking have been constrained to some extent (ranging from 64% in Saudi Arabia to 87% in Vietnam and the UAE).

Around four fifths (79%) of Singapore respondents reported some constraint on their investments, in line with the global average (78%). However, with a quarter (24%) saying their organization has already resumed investments in full – the highest of all the markets surveyed – and another quarter (24%) expecting this to happen by the end of 2023, Singapore financial institutions appear to be leading the recovery.

Growth potential in green lending

There is a strong perception that ESG-focused finance can benefit both financial institutions and communities, with 80% in Singapore agreeing that a focus on ESG and sustainability will be the next big disruptor in the sector.

Specifically, 81% agree that ‘green lending’ provides an opportunity for growth and revenue generation. One of the keys to unlocking this potential might be generative AI. Of those interested in the technology, the most popular use (current or planned) globally is the collection, processing and analysis of data for ESG decision-making or criteria classifications (36%), with 37% in Singapore planning to use it in this way.

“Despite the challenging economic climate, it’s clear from our research that investment in AI, BaaS, and embedded finance remain key priorities for financial services organizations over the next 12 months, particularly as they seek to further enhance and personalize the customer experience,” said Simon Paris, Chief Executive Officer at Finastra. “We share the industry’s ongoing commitment to ESG initiatives, to collaboration around Open Finance, and excitement in using advanced technologies like AI to help deliver on the opportunities ahead.”

Access the full report and findings.

Survey Methodology

  • A total of 956 professionals (at managerial level) in financial institutions and banks across the US, UK, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and the UAE were surveyed. These financial institutions represent a gross total of around USD$33 billion in turnover over the last 12 months, employ approximately 2.4 million staff and have approximately 240 million client / customer / member relationships.

  • As a result of rounding up percentage results, the answers to some questions might not always add up exactly to 100%. Respondents were also able to select more than one answer for some questions.

  • Comparative analysis was made from results of a similar survey run by Finastra in August 2022 which was also conducted online amongst financial institutions and banks across the same markets, except for Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

  • The research was conducted by Savanta via an online panel (August to September 2023).

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