Supporting a bright future
Board members outline Efma’s evolution to date and give their thoughts on the future of the organisation.
25 March 2016How have you seen Efma evolve over the last year?
Makoto Shibata, principal analyst and head of the global innovation team, digital innovation division, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi: When I first attended an Efma event, more than ten years ago, I felt it was a totally European organisation. But in the past few years, and over the last year in particular, I believe that Efma has evolved into a truly global organisation.
Johan van Tholen, director, Allianz SE: Efma has been working on a new set-up and has laid the foundations necessary for evolving in 2016.
Francesca Nieddu, manager of customer experience and CRM, Intesa Sanpaolo: In this ‘age of the customer’ there is much transformation in financial services, and many new competencies are emerging. Efma has been focused on delivering insights and valuable networking opportunities to its members. Sharing thoughts and experiences is key to fostering change and driving innovation.
What is the most outstanding Efma event or piece of content which you believe has marked the past year?
Nieddu: I appreciated the Distribution Summit, where hundreds of executives met and could discuss what is going on in distribution across different touchpoints.
Shibata: For me, the Innovation Summit and
Awards, along with the Innovation Portal, are collectively the most outstanding.
Van Tholen: There have been many symposiums, facilitating valuable exchanges between experts in retail financial services from across the globe.
How do you use Efma content and networking opportunities in your everyday business?
Van Tholen: It is a valuable benchmark and source of information.
Nieddu: In our bank we participate in Efma councils and conferences. For many colleagues it’s a valuable opportunity to open up their mind and understand the challenges and experiences of other banks across different markets.
Shibata: It is helpful to understand the general trends and to get to grips with what other financial institutions are working on.
What main challenges did the financial services industry face in 2015?
Van Tholen: Adapting to the ongoing changes in customer behaviour has been the biggest challenge.
Shibata: We have seen new entrants in financial services from other industry areas – retail players, mobile network operators, technology players and so on, in addition to many start- ups who are obtaining venture funding. It’s therefore a much more competitive environment to do business in.
Nieddu: Keeping up with the pace of innovation. In the digital age, time runs faster! And so it is necessary to adopt agile working methods inside large corporations.
What’s your perspective for 2016 and the years to come?
Van Tholen: I’m very positive, times are changing and 2016 will not be a dull year!
Shibata: We expect the speed of change to get faster and faster. We will need to be creative in order to compete with newcomers in financial services.
Nieddu: I believe that the main challenge will be about delivering customer-centred experiences to retain customers and attract new ones, while at the same time achieving competitive financial results. It requires a shift in mindset along with some significant investment.
Want to know more about Efma? Download the Efma Review 2016