Financial Services

Better decisions in a world of breakneck change

In the face of technological advances that can turn a business on its head, financial services commercial strategy needs to have one eye on regulatory change and one eye on the competition.

Looking from all perspectives

We draw on competition economics, behavioural science and regulatory expertise to advise the leading financial services providers on commercial and regulatory decisions.

Banking on change

We advise the UK’s leading banks, and many others including recent entrants, on commercial and regulatory strategy and practice, in retail, SME, corporate and wholesale markets.

Our work covers all major product areas, channels and corporate functions, with recent work including:

  • Pricing design and embedding behavioural economics within the organisation
  • Proposition strategy in light of Open Banking
  • Regulatory risk assessments and conduct risk management
  • Competition regulatory reviews and litigation
21st century insurance

We give clear, evidence-based advice across insurance and reinsurance markets, including general insurance, life insurance and pensions.

We help clients with regulation and litigation support, efficiency analysis and proposition design. We use root-cause analysis, financial modelling, simulation techniques, behavioural economics, customer lifetime value modelling, econometrics and market analysis.

Our recent work has ranged from the behavioural economics of robo-advice to customers’ lifetime value in general insurance and policy options for pensions. We also regularly support insurance providers in regulatory investigations.

Regulation and reform

Regulation affects every aspect of how financial services firms operate, and there are many bodies to consider, often simultaneously. In the UK, this includes the Financial Conduct Authority, the Payment Services Regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Bank of England, the Pensions Regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the European Commission.

We guide clients through this dense forest, with a deep understanding of how markets work and how regulators approach them.

Our work includes strategic advice on regulatory engagement and regulatory brand, support in responding to market studies and thematic reviews and assessing the impact of regulation on business models.

Competition policy and process

We have advised on all of the major financial services competition investigations at both UK and European levels. This puts us in pole position to help our clients define and support their case throughout any regulatory process, such as:

  • Market investigations and sector inquiries
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Assessment of agreements and abuse of dominance
  • State aid investigations
  • Regulatory risk and impact assessment
  • Damages litigation

See more of our competition work here.

Forward-looking public policy

We support clients in conversations with government, guiding them through how policy changes may affect their business and what to do as a result. We are at the heart of the evolving policy landscape at both national and EU levels, including:

  • Implementation of PSD2
  • Digitisation of services and robo-advice
  • Long-term savings landscape
  • Personal current accounts and overdraft pricing
  • Potential impact of Brexit
  • Lessons of behavioural economics for policy

We also work directly with government departments and regulators. Recently that has included the payday lending price cap in the UK, the economic impact of private equity and venture capital across Europe and the impact of Brexit on the industry.

Fintech and innovation

Our innovation work focusses on finding and keeping a competitive advantage - from new fintech entrants to innovation teams of major financial institutions. We advise and inform on the behaviour of customers and competitors as we:

  • Test new business models and propositions
  • Assess the competitive environment
  • Bring behavioural economics into product design
  • Advise and guide through financial services regulation and policy design

Propositions we have helped clients develop recently include robo-advice, mobile wallets, aggregation, identity services and digital passports.

Open Banking

With Open Banking regulation across Europe, retail banking has changed for good. Regulators are now stressing ‘data standards’, ‘third party access’, ‘user experience’ and ‘APIs’.

To help financial services providers from large retail banks to new fintechs mitigate risk and seize opportunities in Open Banking, we help our clients ask and answer critical questions such as:

  • What are the biggest risks and opportunities to our business model?
  • Who will be our future competitors and how can we win?
  • How are our customers changing their behaviour in an open banking world?
  • Which new capabilities and assets do we need to succeed?
  • How should we change our regulatory processes to comply with new rules?

Some of the notable issues we’ve worked on recently include income and P&L risk analysis, business model adaptation, payment propositions and data analytics strategies.

Conduct regulation and Consumer Duty

Financial services firms want to get things right for customers. But they also need to explain how they are doing so and, sometimes, why customer outcomes are not as good as they should be.

We help firms to comply with outcomes based conduct regulation, including the Consumer Duty, using economics, behavioural psychology and data science to assess consumer outcomes and provide robust explanations and rationale for supervisory engagement.