Strength Under Fire in Risk Management: New Realities, Technology Imperatives, and Investment Spending

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20 February 2012


Globally, Celent expects firms to spend in excess of $35 billion in 2012 on core risk management and risk-related regulatory compliance. These constitute a significant part of total technology spending across banking, insurance, securities, and investment management sectors in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, growing to $50.6 billion in 2015.

As the financial services industry descended into the credit crisis in 2007/2008, Celent published a report highlighting capabilities required to navigate new realities for financial firms. (See the Celent report Managing Risk and Compliance: Responding to New Realities.) Five years on, the tenets presented in that report still hold true, but further imperatives have appeared.

In a new report, Strength Under Fire in Risk Management, Celent examines the strategically imminent themes coming into play in relation to operational trends and risk technology investment spending. Changing industry drivers and regulatory developments potentially constitute “game changing” mid-term to long-term dynamics that Celent expects will shape and drive how capital markets firms and financial institutions architect next-generation technologies, execute to risk management initiatives, and monitor/manage potential exposures on a business as usual basis.

“Despite hard-pressed investment conditions, risk and regulatory delivery programmes are expected to receive sustained spending due to the mandatory drivers to 'fix a broken financial system,' and to sharpen systemic risk management at firm and industry levels,” says Cubillas Ding, Research Director at Celent and author of the report.

Not surprisingly, spending around financial risk management (market, credit, ALM/liquidity, and counterparty risk) constitute the majority proportion, at greater than 65% of overall investment. Areas related to nonfinancial risk (such as AML, financial crime, collateral management, ERM, operational risk and compliance, and regulatory reporting) are expected to garner 24% of total spending in 2012.

The strategic value of scale, distribution and technology/infrastructure will grow dramatically, and hence, financial firms (and the solution providers that service them) will need to invest in these areas. Moreover, firms need to achieve superior levels of agility and capitalize on cost efficiencies in order to gain sufficient operational leverage to thrive in the new world.

From a financial risk management standpoint, liquidity, balance sheet strength, and the ability to actively manage these resources effectively will be a key differentiator. There is already substantial differentiation in funding costs between institutions that investors consider weak (especially those in countries with sovereign difficulties) and stronger institutions. Celent expects that banks with financial strength and spare liquidity, enabled by strong technology acumen to exploit risk and manage the use of capital, will pick up market share.

The report analyzes the top trends in risk management and the outlook for risk technology spending in light of shifting industry dynamics, capital/liquidity regulations, derivatives reforms, and the evolution towards a renewed financial system, one predicated on new ways of operating based on transparent, electronic, and real time infrastructures at a firmwide as well as industrywide level.