Technology trends to follow in 2021

Written by: Vaiie Posted: 03/02/2021

BLDigital_Vaiie_illoCraig Marett, Product Development Manager at Vaiie, lays out the tech developments we can expect to see in the coming 12 months

I get challenged every year to articulate upcoming financial services technology trends. And if you thought technology was well embraced this year, 2021 is set to see greater adoption that will deliver even higher quality and more efficient services to clients anywhere in the world.

Regulatory technology (regtech) is a topic you cannot escape when discussing fintech and digital transformation. It enables businesses to leverage advanced software for identity management, regulatory reporting, transaction monitoring, risk management and compliance software. 

Financial institutions are using regtech to onboard customers fast and with compliance across all jurisdictions in which they operate. 

The most significant technology trends of 2021 look set to come from regtech, productivity and cloud solutions.

Trend 1: Identity and verification (ID&V) regtech 

A surge of rapidly deployable solutions in 2020 rescued financial services businesses that relied on face-to-face business and needed to be able to remotely onboard clients. Solutions will remain in high demand for implementation through 2021, being a low-cost, simple to implement and easy to use solution.

ID&V regtech can capture personal data, selfie video and photo ID, then automatically validate whether the data is genuine. It can photo-match the selfie video, verify documents are authentic and confirm the individual is alive (commonly known as a liveliness test).

Trend 2: Customer lifecycle management (CLM) regtech 

CLM regtech will be widely adopted in 2021 as the go-to platform for the entire business. It manages the client from end to end, integrates ID&V solutions into automated workflow processes, offers rule-based logic, utilises qualified electronic signature (QES) technology and integrates with management systems.

It helps assess risk continuously, by monitoring and assessing clients from the point of enquiry, onboarding, service delivery and offboarding.

Trend 3: AI-built due diligence reports 

These will further de-risk business decisions in 2021. The production of subject due diligence reports isn’t a quick task for humans.

But that’s not the case for artificial intelligence, with insights arriving in seconds. Leading suppliers use machine learning and natural language processing to read unstructured data sources in any language, understand local colloquialisms and return insights in any given language (differing greatly from the common practice today of searching English structured data).

Trend 4: Digitised operations will get a major upgrade

Businesses have recognised for some time that they needed to fully digitise, and 2020 saw a partial rapid move to achieving that from adoption of new software and hardware, and cloud infrastructure.

Some organisations recognised that an implementation of cloud infrastructure helped them deliver data sovereignty in the location required and provided a major enhancement to their data security, while reducing operational costs.

The next 12 months will see laggards move to cloud infrastructure and further efficiencies leveraged from productivity solutions.

Trend 5: Robotic process automation (RPA) 

RPA will become mainstream, supporting the delivery of repetitive tasks such as data input, data management, account reconciliation, prioritisation, document digitisation, testing and report automation. 

It will help businesses save money by reducing fraud, processing errors and payment discounts. And when combined with optical character recognition (OCR), which converts images into text to enable fast document search, it is a strategy that will be fully embraced.

Most firms will have an element of RPA in their business and it will be adopted on a ‘project by project’ basis.

Trend 6: Advanced coaching solutions 

Advanced coaching systems will help to boost productivity. Although rewarding, coaching people can be challenging and a constant activity for senior employees developing high-performance teams.

When employees leave the business, so does the transferred knowledge, team performance dips, and the cycle of transfer starts again.

The inclusion of intuitive narrative built into software will enable any employees to complete tasks with confidence and accuracy. 

And a focus on online software training and support programmes will also enable employees to make better use of software rolled out in 2020.

There are so many more trends to watch out for in 2021 – trust company client portals, the widespread adoption of QES, mainstream understanding of blockchain, and cryptographic forensic investigations. And all of these will be changing business operations in international finance centres. 

While the level of disruption we will experience in 2021 is still uncertain, what is a given is that the events of 2020 have led businesses that might otherwise have taken another four years to adopt technology, to embrace it and feel its value. 

Find out more at

• This advertising feature was first published in the Digital Edition of Businesslife in December 2020

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