Nobel prize winner Niels Bohr once said: “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it‘s about the future”. That warning feels particularly appropriate in today’s financial services industry, where the pace of change keeps on accelerating, and not only as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volatility and uncertainty surround us.

Still, if the future is a corridor down which we can only peer dimly, the light coming from behind does provide at least some illumination. And 2030 is close enough for that illumination to reach — especially with the help of some of the industry’s most inspirational and imaginative leaders. These are the far-sighted Voices, from across the sector and beyond, to whom we have turned to for this report. Each of our interviewees provide a unique view of what to expect in 2030 — and how we may reach that point.


While not all themes are discussed in the same level of detail with all Voices, we noted that their views differ in many interesting ways, but that certain themes unite them. Most interviewees agreed that the incumbent banks will, in 2030, continue to lead in banking despite the threat of Fintechs and Big Techs. However, in order to stay successful the operating model clearly has to change. First, our Voices expect the boundaries between sub-sectors of the financial services industry — as well as with other industries — to become increasingly blurred. Sector convergence has already begun, enabled and driven by new technology and innovation, which is set to continue at pace. Concepts such as embedded banking and insurance, the platform ecosystem and advanced data capabilities with hyper-personalized services as the new normal, may render traditional financial services providers - still applying older practices - increasingly less relevant. Nonetheless, some Voices do believe that simplification of product detail and offering is required.

The other area highlighted by most of our Voices is the imperative to leave the world in a better place than we found it. They expect the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) phenomenon of recent years to evolve and expand — ensuring that financial services companies drive positive change. That may include climate change mitigation, but also span across social justice, equality and fairness.

Elsewhere, many of our interviewees sense a power shift. They anticipate data driving new business models — and undermining existing ways of operating. But crucially, they also expect customers to recognize and enjoy clear benefits as they grant access to their data to trusted partners and businesses.

Of course, not every prediction in this report will come true — and you will have your own views about where we are headed. But, that’s the point: our aim with Voices on 2030 is to stimulate debate — to shed some light on the future without pretending to have all the answers.

Jean Hilgers

Executive director at National Bank of Belgium

Trying to predict what the industry landscape might look like in 2030 is a very challenging exercise, especially with today’s geopolitical and economic context. But the current challenging times also create opportunities and provide for a real momentum for regulators, policy makers and the financial sector to take a bigger leap into the future and set ambitious goals on the longer term. History has shown that, when put under pressure, human creativity and its capacity to solve difficult issues is often at its very best.


International standard setters and regulators such as the Basel Committee and the European Commission are already looking forward and have shifted their focus to new trends, products and emerging risks, such as ESG related risks and everything related to fintech, suptech, digitization, crypto, artificial intelligence, machine learning... But also, sometimes, the need for dealing with these new risks becomes very visible and tangible: the extreme weather conditions that manifested themselves all over the world in the last decade, illustrate the need for climate stress testing and turned the financial sector in no time into an important player in the environmental transition process.

For financial institutions, technology has evolved from a trend into a given with a deep impact on their business models. Financial institutions will have to remain lean enough to swiftly adapt themselves to future technological developments. Also, the financial world is widening to other actors beyond the traditional ones, and the scope of future regulation should therefore evolve and be broadened to these new financial players.

We should all prepare ourselves for this brave new financial future.

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30 Voices on 2030: The new reality for financial services

Discover more perspectives from 30 Voices representing the multi-faceted financial services industry.

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Relive our "Voices on 2030: Financial Services" launch event

Voices on 2030

We interviewed key leaders from across financial services and beyond - exploring a world post-open banking, where crypto is commonplace, where customer behavior has shifted, where AI, platformization, new challengers, Fintech, InsurTech, RegTech and every tech in-between has changed the financial services ecosystem and business models.

Predictions for 2030

By 2030, the financial sector will have undergone a powerful transformation driven by issues such as the environment and technological acceleration.