Press release

1 Jun 2020 London, GB

UK Financial Services expected to undergo fundamental change post COVID-19, as tech develops faster than ever and climate change jumps up the agenda

Financial Services is unlikely to ever return to the ‘old normal’, and new ways of working – incorporating a far greater degree of technology and flexible working - seem inevitable.

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Victoria Luttig

EY UK Media Relations Manager

Part of the UK PR team, focused on financial services. Covers all things to do with banking, insurance and wealth and asset management. Love sports and travelling. Married and mum of two boys.

Data taken from a poll of over 200 senior management from across 162 Financial Services Firms with business interests and/or presence in the UK market in May 2020

  • 87% of respondents claim that working from home due to COVID-19 will result in firms’ tech transformation developing far faster than ever predicted
  • Almost two thirds (65%) of respondents think the workplace will change fundamentally post COVID-19, with a further 30% expecting moderate change
  • Firms have now overcome the challenges of staff working from home, and 99% said all or most of their employees are working productively and effectively
  • Focus on climate change expected to be far greater post COVID-19, according to 88% of those polled
  • Almost a third (32%) believe COVID-19 is a turning point, and over half (56%) think there’ll be an industry-wide desire to do more in this space

Simon Turner, Financial Services Partner at EY, comments: “Financial Services is unlikely to ever return to the ‘old normal’, and new ways of working – incorporating a far greater degree of technology and flexible working - seem inevitable. Most firms have very quickly overcome the challenges of having their entire workforce relocate to the ‘home office’, and have worked at an incredible pace to adapt and transform their business models. Technology is expected to develop at a far faster pace than ever forecast, bringing forward years’ worth of tech progress to banks, insurers and asset managers, and if done well, will create a huge cost saving just at a time when firms need it, while improving customers’ digital experiences. Of course, the predicted shift away from so much office-based working and in-person contact will mean new ways of idea creation and knowledge sharing will need to be carefully thought-through and developed. It will also require a rethink into how offices are currently used and strong leadership that instils a sense of trust and confidence so employees feel comfortable and supported as we look towards a post-lockdown world.

“If there are positives to be found within this time of crisis, the increased focus on climate change is one of them. Our data shows that the majority (88%) of the industry believes that climate change will come into greater focus, with over half believing that their firms will actively want to do more in this space. Significant progress has already been made across banks, insurers and asset management firms in modelling and mitigating long-term threats to asset values, liquidity and balance sheet strength, as climate change had been climbing up the political, social and investor agenda. It is expected to continue as firms re-evaluate their priorities and those of their clients and investors, and as tangible evidence emerges through the recovery. It is certainly hoped that this mindset shift will be part of the new fabric of the financial sector for the long term.“