The financial services (FS) industry is experiencing intense and widespread disruption caused by cost pressures, rising customer expectations and regulatory demand, as well as rapidly accelerating digital advances. Many in the industry have responded to these challenges by investing in innovation and transformation.

Since 2015, we have been hosting a quarterly gathering of change directors, heads of change and senior portfolio and programme directors of leading banks, insurers and financial institutions here in London. The Financial Services Change Directors Forum has provided a unique opportunity to share change management experiences and debate the latest trends in the industry, such as digital transformation and regulation.

Recently, we decided to delve deeper into the forces that are driving change for FS firms, and how they are responding. For our FS Change Survey 2017, we interviewed 787 senior executives from 10 countries about their attitudes to change, their capabilities for managing it and achieving the targeted benefits, and their approaches and priorities.

The survey confirms that FS firms are taking the disruption they face seriously and investment in change is growing. More surprisingly, though, it shows that a small group of FS firms (about 10 percent) – dubbed ‘the change leaders’ – are significantly better at change than their peers. They are more likely to complete their programmes on time and on budget. They also achieve greater change benefits and a bigger improvement in commercial performance as a result of these programmes.

If you take cost reduction and efficiency, for example, more change leaders than other FS respondents said they had achieved the change benefits they had targeted (87 percent vs. 69 percent) and improved their business performance (80 percent vs. 68 percent). They reported similar results in customer service programs, digital technology and channels, risk and compliance, and legacy replacement.

These change leaders’ ability in how they are managing change is enabling them to thrive in a world of constant change. Coming up next, we will examine closely the ways in which they are accomplishing this.

To find out more about the Financial Services Change Survey or to join our FS Change Directors Forum, please contact me.

You can read more survey results here.