Historically, financial services (FS) organisations have not viewed their change capabilities as a core competence. However, in the face of unprecedented changes in digital, market presence, operating models, the customer experience and product innovation, change is now essential for short-term survival and long-term growth.

In order to take change in financial services to the next level, collaboration, key partnerships, and sharing success stories will be key.

The Financial Services Change Directors’ Forum does exactly that. As a peer forum for change directors, heads of change and senior portfolio and programme directors of leading banks, insurers and financial institutions, it provides a unique opportunity to debate the industry change trends and hot topics.

The most recent forum held in London brought together more than two dozen senior change leaders to focus on the topic of ‘Digital Transformation,’ featuring four keynote speakers with an emphasis on learnings and insights from the digital journeys across other industries.

Patrick Toms from Imperial Brands spoke about the significance of data in bringing about successful change, highlighting change tracking, and the insight that it provides to leadership teams. He said vision and direction, strong leadership, and ample communication are key factors to change success.

James Dickerson, who leads Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab in London, spoke of the fintech ecosystem and described some interesting new players and collaboration models in the market. He said the ecosystem continues to sprawl, with investment into venture-backed fintech firms growing to $22.5 billion in 2015.

“Early fintech was very much focused on disruption and cannibalisation of traditional bank revenue,” Dickerson noted, “but we are seeing a greater diversification across the banking value chain.”

Dickerson said there has been a shift in mentality to collaborative approach over last few years with banks and others now looking to build relationships with fintechs and vice versa.

Edwin Van der Ouderaa, Accenture’s global digital lead for FS, reiterated the importance of vision, and the value of focusing on people during the digital journey. He articulated some of the pressures he was seeing within the industry within the context of digital.

Simon Post from Dixons Carphone gave a retail perspective, explaining his company’s new sales approach to improve its customer experience. By giving sales staff iPads with technology that uses data collected on the customer to offer the best product, the company has somersaulted itself to a new level, becoming more nimble and customer-centric.

The talks were followed with roundtable discussions, sparking lots of debate and sharing of experiences across the industries.

The change leaders in financial services and other industries will benefit from hearing about each other’s success stories, as well as obstacles to comprehensive transformation. The more insight we gain from individual experiences and experiments, the more chance we will have to bring about agile change within the financial services industry.

The next forum will focus on ‘Regulatory Change,’ and will be held in London on Jan. 26. Please contact lynne.milsom@accenture.com if you are interested in attending. There are more forums planned for 2017, with locations to be announced across North America, Italy and Spain.

To learn more, watch the video: Transforming Financial Services

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