Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays, delivered the University of the West of England’s prestigious Annual Bolland Lecture as part of the Bristol Distinguished Address Series with his talk entitled ‘Digital Transformation of Banking’.
Ashok started his lecture by discussing the amount of change within the Banking industry since the crash of Lehman Brothers in 2008, sending the world’s financial system into turmoil. Ashok suggested there have been three major key changes since 2008 which include; developments in technology, regulatory changes and changing customer habits. These three key trends are now coming together and having an even greater impact upon the sector.
He then talked about “the good, the bad and the ugly” aspects of advancements in technology. For example, how the consumer is able to have instant access/gratification to the marketplace through mobile apps, how the automation of some services has taken away jobs, and not forgetting the increased threat of cyber security attacks.
Later in the talk he also emphasised an inherent need for trust in organisations in order to retain customers, in particular in relation to privacy and data regulations. Ashok talked about how Barclays is particularly focussed on helping people achieve their hopes and aspirations as part of their societal purpose #Letsgofoward. They have also introduced a strategy #trulyconnectedfinance which ensures passionate colleagues are empowered by technology and are also passionate about their customers.
Although Ashok supports the transformation of technology he also recognises that business is all about people and that people enjoy social contact, therefore, sometimes it is about “having a conversation that technology cannot provide.” In summary, Ashok concluded his talk by explaining that he thinks leaders must do the following in order to be successful; keep learning, stay current, be curious and have humility.