EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Financial services sector - what future?

Sector Futures provides specialised reports based on the monitoring of existing foresight studies, scenario work, innovation studies and reliable data sources. April 2004 features the third and last article in the series on the future of the financial services sector. It focuses on policy issues for the future of the sector.

The financial services sector has undergone dramatic change in recent years. There is no doubt that the spread of information and communication technologies (ICT) has driven much of this change. New technologies have sparked exciting, innovative practices throughout the finance sector - from both existing providers and new entrants. But technology is only one of the forces - albeit a significant one - encouraging change in the financial world.

The dot.com boom and bust; European integration, including the single currency and moves to create a single market in financial services; information technology; globalisation; innovative financial instruments; increasing wealth and the ageing of the population have all played a role in bringing about these changes. All of these trends will continue to be important drivers of change in the financial services sector.

From defining the trends and drivers...

The first feature, The future of financial services - changing times (pdf 1.1 Mb pdf file), provides a snapshot of the financial services sector, focusing on some of the driving forces that will map its future.

... to shaping the future of financial services

The second article in this series, Shaping the future of financial services (pdf 48 kb), explores in greater depth the driving forces likely to shape development in the sector and draws up a Surprise free scenario. Examining the forces that may cause the future to deviate from this course, the article then challenges the scenario assumptions and maps the sector's future. A comprehensive bibliography complements the article.

Policy implications

The third and last article in the financial services series, Policies, issues and the future of financial services (pdf 187 kb), focuses on policy issues for the future of the sector. Its objective is not to propose policy per se, but rather to stimulate dialogue and debate about policy alternatives regarding financial services and their future impact.

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