To get the right change in Financial Services you need the right leaders and so you need to start from the top – with risk takers, people who make things happen,

Change happens more easily with an outsider – and a recurring theme has come from Germany, South America, Asia, Czech, among others, that existing management has never succeeded in a turn around. It´s always been a start-up or a new CEO, or a new leadership team who sees the world differently.

So, a trend is that more people are recruiting outsiders to drive change of digitalization, without the history or prior relationships but with a good deal of social savvy.  A recurring theme from the board levels themselves is that the only way to change the way banking is done is to change the management.

And the mentality of a “new game”, stressing the world from the customer perspective so you need people with FMCG /Auto backgrounds. The FMCG world is the best world for building a digital bank. FMCG forces you to listen to the customers and also to influence the customer.

The best don’t want you

For digital natives, quality of life, family, and location is important and they do not want to work for banks. London, Frankfurt, Vienna may get a “yes”, Prague “ok” but other locations tend to be a “no”. The start-up scene is so attractive that where they want to work is often their own business or their first business experience and they need hard core exposure through a Google, Bank or IT company.

One of the major challenges is that banks are not sexy any more as a place to work. In addition, the working environment is not completely aligned/set up for the new requirements and so much continues in the very “classic” (banking) sense with hierarchies, committees, policies, titles more important than track record

Top management is still hard to convince to make this change and make the commitment to tackle the transformation barriers.     CEO´s know it requires investment in the scale of 100 M Euros, so their margins are going to suffer.   But they have become digital users, familiar with the problems of mobile banking and know that they will not survive if they don’t transform to an omni-channel approach.

Demand for Change

There is a big demand for changes in top management, bringing people in who may have the skills/experience to have an affinity to IT, Telco /content. Not just in the COO/CIO end but also strategy settings. This is so dynamic that some senior managers who remember the “.com” revolution are calling it a repeat but hope to avoid the pitfalls.

Skills are missing but more screening is needed.  What leaders should do is hire HR from other areas such as media and telco to understand how to screen.

Many people put digital skills in their CV such as digital marketing etc, but more is required in such skills as:


English is a standard needed to work cross country.

Technical skills

Customer orientation – hands on management of the customer experience from process management, analytics, customer experience.

Broad high level market skills – translating high level marketing ideas down to the detail, knowing what messages and product design to produce, and knowing how to manage or build a relationship with Google, work with blogs, etc

Understanding of business – if people have technical skills, they may lack social skills if they worked only in start-ups.  Experience limited to one-man shows means both process, and the social set up of any business environment, may be unknown.  Changing to a bank without the proper background means they have no knowledge of how a big business works, let alone a bank

The result is that, overall, hiring managers in the rapidly transforming Financial Services sector are disappointed with the quality of respondents to their job ads

The know-how they are looking for can come better through hiring people outside of the banking industry.  But banks still resist hiring people from telco, IT , media agencies, on line shopping/services or FMCG.  But these are the people with the experience and knowledge how to establish a relationship, understand digitally delivered service, develop products & work with the analytics and segmentation data.

Telco people, for example, understand the content management /cost billing side better.  They have seen the mistakes. Telco people understand the risk issues.

Gaming people understand the risks and know how to work in a highly regulated environment in which payment /changing odds are much faster transactions than in a bank, making them an ideal fit,

Even industrial companies are now recruiting globally, (best man or woman for the job) and some even are introducing more virtualization depending on the size of the company.