Financial Services and Utilities – What unites these sectors?

Written by Cheryl Richards
16 Nov 2023
Financial Services
Leaves and tree branches with sunlight shining through.

I recently started an exciting journey – to help Financial Services leaders overcome their most challenging problems, by extending the reach of a high-performing team.

BFY Group have a history of delivering exceptional results in Utilities, and with Financial Services facing similar challenges, there are many opportunities for cross-fertilisation.

In recent years, Financial Services and Utilities have become dynamic and fast changing. Customers sit at the forefront of both sectors, with their impact on daily life creating expectations for quick, frictionless, and secure interactions. And with ever-evolving expectation, comes greater challenges for the organisations that provide these services. They must balance the need for innovation and sustainable growth to respond to increased competition, alongside unassailable service, all while being under increased regulatory scrutiny.

So, with these similarities in mind, what can these two sectors learn from each other? Quite a lot is the answer – and this is what we’re focussing on not only in this blog, but throughout our expansion into Financial Services.

As we continue to explore these parallels, those in Financial Services will benefit from the insights of our transformation and service recovery experts, who’ve already built an exceptional reputation in Utilities. Conversely, Utilities readers can learn from the adoption of new ways of working in Financial Services, and accelerate this in their own organisation.

As explored below, the potential for crossover covers three areas:

  • Treating customers fairly
  • Innovating in line with market expectations
  • Having a modern business infrastructure to deliver the above, efficiently and effectively

Treating customers fairly - Top of the regulatory agenda

Financial Services and Utilities are both heavily regulated industries. And whether we’re talking about the ICO, FCA, AML, Ofgem, or Ofwat, there’s a clear overarching mission that sits top of today’s agenda – treating customers fairly. This is especially true for the growing number of customers experiencing financial difficulty.

Last month, Ofgem announced a new set of initiatives on the back of their Statutory Consultation, increasing the pressure on organisations to take accountability for customer outcomes, in a similar vein to the ongoing focus of the FCA with Consumer Duty.

More than ever, both sectors must be adaptable to this ever-changing regulatory landscape, heightened by the increased levels of press coverage and political attention that we’ve seen all throughout the cost-of-living crisis. Unsurprisingly, mistakes will be costly.

Innovating to evolve with expectations, and lead the competition

There’s an ever-growing need to be agile, in response to this increasingly fast-paced regulatory and competitor environment. Being able to anticipate and innovate is key to winning. This is playing out through the introduction of new technology, and the associated disruption that accompanies this.

In Utilities, Smart metering is transforming the servicing landscape. While in Financial Services, companies are unlocking new capabilities through new generative AI-enabled tools, which is assisting and transforming knowledge work, while delivering a series of additional cost-driven benefits. There are also widespread cyber security advances, including the adoption of biometrics for identification and authentication. Each of these examples have brought new and exciting propositions to the market, and this is only likely to continue as technology evolves.

Organisations in both sectors can no longer afford to ignore diversification. It’s not enough to offer just one service or product. In Financial Services, customers expect to see banking, investing, and insurance all under one umbrella - or namely a single app. The same appetite can be seen in Utilities, where an increasing number of organisations are introducing new offerings to attract and retain customers, whether it be through EVs, heat pumps, or solar panels.

Investing in a modern, future-proof business structure

There’s also an increasing strain on organisations that aren’t digital-first. Many are discovering that their legacy systems are no longer fit for purpose, moving to new systems to maximise opportunities for transformation and sustainable growth, providing they’re adopted successfully. The BFY team have already provided some insight on this topic, which you can read here.

Whether looking to re-platform, or support growth ambitions through the launch of new products or services, these decisions will require new investment or cost savings. The latter is frequently being achieved through a drive for enhanced performance in operational areas – or operational excellence. This approach is the backbone of cost savings in both Financial Services and Utilities, by redesigning and reimaging core processes across the value stream, to deliver the most efficient and effective E2E customer experience.

As we continue our expansion into Financial Services, I’ll be sharing further insights on the challenges and opportunities that organisations should be actively managing in both sectors, with guidance on how we’re helping our clients to do this.

You can receive these insights directly to your inbox, by joining our mailing list here.

If you’re curious about what we can help you to achieve, whether in Financial Services or Utilities, please get in touch.

Cheryl Richards

Cheryl is leading BFY Group’s expansion into Financial Services, leveraging her experience and knowledge to establish BFY Group as a trusted partner in this new sector.

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