Top financial services industry issues

From PwC's Financial Services Institute

The rules have changed.

There’s no doubt that the financial services industry is changing. It always does. But whether you think about shifts in technology, regulation, or global events, the changes can be dizzying. From the largest multinational firms to the smallest community institutions, it’s time to revisit your plans—because what has led to success until now may not work as well in the future.

PwC looks at the most important issues facing financial services firms and puts them in perspective. For each topic, we look at the current landscape, share our view on what will likely come next, and offer our thoughts on how you can turn the situation to your advantage.


At most financial institutions, a digital future prompts both hope and concern. After all, legacy systems, processes, and relationships make innovation extremely difficult. Many firms still struggle with making a digital transformation, even as future growth may depend on it. But opportunities certainly do exist. Using data and analytics, firms may predict client needs and find new paths to profit. With artificial intelligence and digital labor, they can unlock powerful insights and move staff to higher-value work. And blockchain,or distributed ledger technology, may bring greater efficiency and security to custody, payments, securities trading, and more.


When facing change, flexibility and creativity matter. All firms have to manage expenses, but the easy cuts for cost containment have usually been made. And effective people strategy can help them benefit from diversity, sustain trust, and prepare their workforce for the future.

Government and markets

Cybersecurity continues to threaten profit, data privacy, and reputation, and regulators have been paying attention. In other ways, government policy is leaning in a more favorable direction, and firms have room to think about how to make compliance investments more efficient, particularly given recent advances in RegTech.

The road ahead

We see many reasons to be optimistic.

Leading firms are starting to reap the rewards of investments in emerging technology. They’re also taking steps to get ahead of regulatory changes, and they’re adapting their long-term strategies to reflect global and societal shifts. For those who are prepared, this may be a time to pull ahead of the pack.

We expect to see:

  • An intense focus on limiting costs, based on a clear understanding of an institution’s central mission.
  • Continued use of software bots and artificial intelligence to make operations more efficient and discover insights that can improve the customer experience.
  • A new round of deal-making as firms look to consolidate their position or step away from non-core activities.

For more than a century, PwC has worked with clients around the world to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re pleased to share this outlook with you, and we look forward to helping you in the year ahead.

How PwC can help

Our teams in asset and wealth management, banking and capital markets, and insurance are helping our clients tackle the biggest issues facing the financial services industry. With professionals across tax, assurance and advisory practices, we can help you find ways to thrive even in a period of uncertainty. Whether you're preparing for regulatory changes, putting FinTech/InsurTech to work or rethinking your human capital strategy, we work together with you to resolve complex issues, identify opportunities and deliver value to your business.

Contact us

Neil Dhar

Financial Services Industry Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (646) 471 3700

Marie Carr

Global Growth Strategy, US Financial Services Practice, PwC US

Tel: +1 (312) 298 6823

Cathryn Marsh

Leader, Financial Services Institute, PwC US

Tel: +1 (720) 931 7836

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