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Corporate and Investment Banking in APAC Is Ripe for Personalization and Automation

Digital trends are shaping the APAC corporate and investment banking industry. Here's how competitive organizations stay ahead of the curve.

Asian businessman lead group of business financial team in strategic meeting presentation: corporate investment banking
These digital trends are shaping the APAC corporate and investment banking industry. [Urbanscape/Shutterstock]

The corporate and investment banking (CIB) sector is heavily relationship-driven. Because of this, it must pivot and adapt to navigate this period of uncertainty and overcome COVID-related restrictions. As the general manager of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong, I know pandemic-related lockdowns and social distancing criteria imposed on various countries have posed challenges for client engagement and deal flow pace.

This prolonged period of virtual arrangements may limit building client relationships through face-to-face interactions. With these limitations comes an opportunity for the CIB sector to embrace aspects of digital transformation.

Given this disruption, here are a few transformation trends I see will impact the financial landscape in APAC (the Asia-Pacific region).

More investments in digital for the corporate and investment banking sector

CIB firms can adopt a digital client platform to navigate the pandemic-fueled world. So far, corporate banking firms have experienced digital transformation in the back office. The front office experiences less digital innovation beyond capital markets and cash management.

The CIB sector can elevate its existing digital platforms beyond operational processing.

For years, retail and wealth management firms have offered customers digital account tools. The shift to digital solutions is unlikely to change in the post-pandemic era. CIB, in contrast, has lagged in this move to digitize its offerings. Now, the CIB sector can elevate its existing digital platforms beyond operational processing. The right tools can help emphasize differentiation, predictive analysis, and client-centric delivery.

Digital transformation will lean into personalization and automation

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a necessity for a flexible, proactive digital system. AI helps integrate personalized data and automate tasks. Yet, there is a “balancing act” between personalization and automation. Challenges range from siloed information to process changes, excluding the human or compliance factor. One of the main issues is the integration of functional teams and data. Integrating functional teams and their processes, tools, and timelines requires a collective effort. This coordination can be challenging in the beginning phases.

Changing regulations slow innovation and is a risk to investment banks’ reputations.

Integrating data from many different systems raises compatibility issues. Sometimes these issues need modern applications to solve them. Another issue is compliance and regulation. Developing new systems will raise compliance-related questions. This is an ongoing issue as there were $10 billion in compliance fines issued between October 2018-December 2019. Yet changing regulations slow innovation and is a risk to investment banks’ reputations.

The next generation of client-relationship building depends on a single view

The building of client relationships must be insights-driven, relevance-led, and efficiency-focused. Consolidating client data in one place helps to create a sophisticated insight database. With a single client view, you can use relevant insights to speed up deal flow and win more mandates.

In a recent case, a Hong Kong bank that serves small and medium enterprises experienced significant gains through an end-to-end transformation of the commercial lending process. It reduced relationship management time by 20%, while quality customer appointments rose by 20%. Over 13 weeks, the four-week rolling average new loan sales increased 40%. Time-to-cash decreased by half.

Data analytics and AI can increase efficiency and optimize deal flow

A successful digital platform combines customer data from separate systems into one source. These insights provide a 360-degree view of clients. To create this view, powerful AI assistants can identify relationships across the web, social media, and internal CRM data. This tool also automates contact and account research and embeds CRM records in a web browser.

AI-powered insights and analytics help speed up time to value (TTV), improve client experience, and better manage risk and compliance.

Data analytics and AI are key drivers to maximize efficiency and optimize the deal flow lifecycle. Using a platform to track the deal lifecycle, create a defined process, and keep information in one place is critical. Leveraging analytics is also a significant strategic advantage as tools like AppExchange and Mulesoft can help investment bankers integrate and unlock all internal and external data through APIs, regardless of where it resides — on-premise, cloud, or hybrid. The luxury of having a unified database brings intelligence to the deal management process with Tableau CRM for financial services. Moreover, AI-powered insights and analytics help speed up time to value (TTV), improve client experience, and better manage risk and compliance.

In Salesforce’s recent CIB Playbook, they’ve highlighted takeaways to shape the digital future of your corporate investment banking organization:

  1. Use first-party data to manage and hack growth. The correct use of data and technology can fuel smart (and automatic) creation of new relationships and contacts, as well as analyze calendar meetings, email traffic, social media connections, and more to create a rich tapestry of relationships.
  2. Leverage relationship capital to source new opportunities. The leveraging of technology and automation allows dealmakers and coverage officers to set follow-up reminders, power industry mailing lists, fuel social strategies, and promote the value of their relationships over time. The focus then shifts from individual transactions to the long-term goal of building relationship value, thereby creating generational growth and impact.
  3. Build on the explosive growth of big data and its integration in digital transformation programs. The integration of big data helps bankers visualize their relationship and deal data alongside what is happening more in the market, including company demographics and financials.
  4. Adopt a martech focus for the CIB sector and rethink market strategies and client engagement. Banks can collect far greater data about client and prospect engagement by using intelligent marketing automation tools. They can gain a deeper understanding of who is engaging with them on social media, webinars, and analyst calls.
  5. Speed up deal-making with the power of AI and predictive analytics. AI eliminates human error on complex contracts, automates the signature process, and ensures that meeting scheduling is seamless. This is especially important with high-pressure deals. All in all, AI and bots offer plenty of high-touch value for investment banks.

The digital future looks bright. But it is personalization that will define the winners in this competitive battleground.

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