4 minute read 22 Apr 2019
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How consumer financial services firms will drive financial wellness

Winning in the next wave will require foresight to reimagine the business, willingness to challenge the status quo and appetite for bold action.

As digitalization takes over more of the financial world, consumer financial services firms will need to shift their strategies to differentiate on trust, financial health and bundled offerings that transcend product-centric selling and present more holistic and personalized value propositions. Over the next five years, the consumer financial services industry will be reframed. You can download the EY NextWave Consumer Financial Services research report here.

What does it mean to be reframed? The last 10 years have provided several examples.

  • Smartphones weren’t just better phones; they fundamentally reframed platform-based access at one’s fingertips. Now an entirely new ecosystem of value exists around the mobile platform ecosystem.
  • Ubiquitous one-stop shop, free-delivery e-commerce platforms didn’t just offer better retail experiences; they fundamentally reframed commerce. Now an entirely new ecosystem of value has been created for the consumer, integrating commerce with other relevant offerings and experiences.
  • Streaming services didn’t just create a new distribution model for content; they fundamentally reframed the creation, consumption and distribution of content. And now the entire industry has been forced to shift its business models to stay relevant.
  • All three examples have one thing in common: they introduced a brand-new context that catalyzed change in demand-side (consumer) preferences and behaviors. In doing so, they forced the supply side (industry) to reimagine its future or be rendered irrelevant. We now see this occurring across virtually every aspect of the consumer economy.

What will reframing mean for consumer financial services? Value will shift from the monetization of products and transactions to the productization of user experiences that monetize consumer relationships themselves.

Consumer financial services firms will need to shift their strategies to differentiate on trust, financial health and bundled offerings.

In short, the industry will become the new subscription-based model, and in doing so, we will witness the disintermediation of the financial service from the financial product. The catalyst will be the concept of “the consumer’s personal financial operating system,” a dynamic, trusted and embedded digital experience that helps consumers improve their financial lives through constant, relevant, daily interaction and engagement.

Today’s product-centric growth paradigm will become obsolete. Winners will reimagine the future and race toward it, while others will be rendered irrelevant.


The companies that win the future of consumer financial services will demonstrate the ability to execute with focus and purpose in instilling consumer trust and helping consumers live financially healthier, more secure and more fulfilling lives. 

Fundamentally, we believe (and our research shows) that increased financial well-being (and lower financial anxiety) can benefit financial services companies in the form of higher and more sustainable profits, as well as society as a whole through a healthier economy and reduced strain on public resources.