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Experts from Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo share insights on how digital transformation in finance protects and enhances client experiences

Bianca Chan, Peter Akwaboah, Reetika GrewalLeft: Bianca Chan, senior finance reporter at Insider; Center: Peter Akwaboah head of innovation and chief operating officer of technology at Morgan Stanley, Right: Reetika Grewal, head of digital transformation for CB and CIB at Wells Fargo

Courtesy of Insider Events

  • Experts shed light on what digital transformation in finance means for banks and people.
  • Industry leaders say digitizing finance prioritizes the interests of large and small clients.
  • The conversation was part of Insider’s event “Finance Meets Its Future,” which took place on Thursday, March 23, 2023.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

According to Insider Intelligence banks and other financial institutions are pouring funding into digital transformation technologies and initiatives. Banks are keeping up with the demand for technological innovation by making their services available at the tap of a button on a smartphone.

In the session “Demystifying digital transformation in finance,” part of the “Finance Meets Its Future” event presented by Amberdata, experts discuss digital transformation in finance on wall street. 

Customer convenience is at the forefront of digital transformation discussions. 

Reetika Grewal, head of digital transformation for CB and CIB at Wells Fargo said that that client concerns are at the center of digital transformation. “We just recently launched, at the end of last year, a brand new portal experience for our clients in the corporate and investment bank as well as the commercial bank called Wells Fargo Vantage,” Grewal said. 

Peter Akwaboah head of innovation and chief operating officer of technology at Morgan Stanley echoes these sentiments. “We spend a lot of time around looking at our own internal processes and making sure that we continue to digitize those and make that as effective as we can, relative to how we support the customer,” Akwaboah said. “The customer comes to the front end. We have to make sure that the back end is also as efficient as possible as well.”

Digital transformation poses key challenges

When asked about the challenges of driving digital transformation in banks, Akwaboah said the industry is contending with multiple competing agendas. “The more you digitize, the more you also see the scale of our safeness and soundness becoming more important,” he said. “So the investment in the cyber becomes something that we have to compete. So we’re growing our business, we’re having to make sure that we’re doing it in such a way that continues to be regulatory compliant, as well as making sure that it becomes very safe as well.” 

Grewal agreed and added that digital transformations should be given a holistic approach. “Data is a really, really big component of any digital transformation and making sure that we’ve got that thought through as well from that people process systems lens as well,” she said

Banking’s biggest changes

Both experts agree that the most important change is the overarching cultural shift that comes from digitizing banking. “What we focus our attention on is really making sure that there is a culture of change, culture of innovation,” Akwaboah said, “And because things change in a dynamic way and you have to be nimble and agile to be able to reflect to those change in the modern environment”. 

Grewal said, “One of the most important things we did when we’re starting on this transformation journey was making sure that everybody from a cultural perspective had that deep passion for our clients.”

Key Takeaway: Clients come first in digitial transformation

Both experts agreed that the goal for big banks that are digitizing should be ensuring platforms are user-friendly and that clients are the key focus. Akwaboah pointed out that the CEO and CFO at Morgan Stanley strategize for the client by taking a hard look at the company’s strategic intention and aligning on where they’re heading at least once a year. “That is an important part of everybody being behind the strategy and how we’re servicing our customers,” Akwaboah said.

Grewal maintained that listening to clients is a key factor in Wells Fargo’s strategy. “The embedded finance space is a way that you really try to bring more of what we offer to the tools and the systems that our clients are using,” Grewal concluded.  

Read the original article on Business Insider
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