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Insights on financial services industry issues

Welcome to Quick Look blog

Join Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services and our research team for Investment Management, Banking & Securities, Insurance and Real Estate, as they discuss issues facing financial services leaders today. 

Follow this blog on Twitter: #QuickLookBlog

Recent posts

The trouble with bubbles: Spotting and responding to asset price bubbles

Posted by Dennis Dillon, Senior Market Insights Analyst, Banking & Securities, Deloitte Services LP, on July 30, 2014
Bubbles, or at least potential bubbles, seem to be everywhere lately. While banks and capital markets firms need to account for even minor risks to avoid a bubble, action to mitigate a bubble that does not actually exist could harm a particular sector as well as the broader economy. How do we know when a bubble has formed, and what questions should be answered before regulators intervene?

Tax efficient investing: How tax pressures may impact the investment management landscape

Posted by Sean Cunniff, Investment Management research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on July 23, 2014
Taxes can have a significant impact on financial outcomes from investing and investors are not always aware of the extent of the impact until well after the transaction. Financial services institutions tend to tread carefully in the area of taxes, since many do not offer tax advice. However, with changing tax rates and complexity, it seems the interest in tax-efficient investing will grow for the simple reason that tax liability is one of the few areas where investors may see a direct impact.

Make way for exponential finance: How exponential technologies will drive innovation in the financial services industry

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on July 16, 2014
There are a number of trends happening in the area of exponential technology that may have an impact on the financial services industry including artificial intelligence, robo advisors, and others. Institutionalizing such capabilities and making the transformation into an exponential organization might be a long road for most large, incumbent firms, but the sooner the journey begins the better.

The future of biometrics in financial services

Posted by Ryan Zagone, Lead Market Insights Analyst, Banking & Securities, Deloitte Services LP, on July 9, 2014
As biometrics mature and expand to include more physical identifiers, financial institutions will have to stay keenly aware of consumer perceptions, experiences, and concerns to ensure these features are properly integrated into mobile products.

Insurers must better connect with consumers on the go

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on July 02, 2014
Many insurers have adapted basic online services for mobile platforms. In order to take it to the next level, carriers must capitalize on the unique capabilities of smartphones and tablets to engage more fully with both clients and their own personnel over such devices.

Winning the cyber talent war

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on June 26, 2014
Talent isn't always top of mind when one thinks about cybersecurity, but there is a growing perception that the best way to counter the innovation coming from threat actors seeking to exploit technology vulnerabilities, within financial services and other industries, is to fight fire with fire.

Innovation strategies in retail financial services: How followers can succeed against pioneers

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on June 18, 2014
There can be only one pioneer in any product category, and most firms will find themselves as "followers" — sometimes by choice, but mostly by circumstance. So how can followers break away and attain market leadership? Read this blog to understand how followers in the financial services industry, where new categories are few and far between, succeeded in the past.

Telematics could change the game for auto insurers

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on June 11, 2014
The trend toward usage-based insurance may be accelerating. How can carriers reduce costs to monitor driving behavior via smartphones? What challenges need to be considered as insurers go down the road to implementation?

Sustainability in commercial real estate: Walking the green talk

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on June 04, 2014
"Green buildings" and "sustainability" are buzzwords in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector, among policy makers and environmentalists alike; taking green to the next level is an omnipresent challenge. The question is, are we walking the walk, or just talking?

Payments for Distribution in Guise: A continued exam priority

Posted by Sean Cunniff, Investment Management research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on May 28, 2014
The SEC has listed "Payments for Distribution in Guise" as a national exam priority from 2013 into 2014, which helps determine if mutual funds are receiving and paying for services for which they actually contracted, among other things. How can investment managers learn from supermarkets — is a "payments inventory" what's needed to identify every single payment made from funds to third parties?

Brand commoditization in retail banking: What can banks do about it?

Posted by Lincy Therattil, Assistant Manager, Banking & Securities, Deloitte Services LP, on May 21, 2014
Banks have an opportunity to differentiate themselves when offering highly commoditized products by leveraging technology to make client experiences more meaningful and personalized. Such customization is especially relevant now, despite digitization, as customers increasingly expect exclusivity and service personalization when they perform banking functions or contact bank representatives in the virtual world.

Mobility and financial services: We've only just begun

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, Executive Director, Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP on May 14, 2014
In the financial services industry, firms have worked hard to engage with their clients through the mobile channel. But given the pace of technology advancement in the mobile space, firms should be planning to rethink how mobile device technologies may advance in unanticipated ways.

Ride the wave of Chinese investment in U.S. real estate

Posted by Saurabh Mahajan, Assistant Manager, Real Estate, Deloitte Services LP, on May 7, 2014
The current Chinese inflow can potentially reshape foreign property ownership in the United States, which traditionally has been dominated by Canadian and Australian investors. What does it mean for the U.S. commercial real estate players?

Privatizing flood insurance: What would it take to attract private carriers into the market?

Posted by Aditya Udai Singh, Assistant Manager, Insurance, Deloitte Services LP, on April 30, 2014
Flood insurance might represent the biggest growth opportunity for private carriers in years, but insurers are likely to be wary about taking on greater exposure in a line that historically has been difficult to write, absent changes to give them a reasonable chance of making a profit.

Scale economies in banking: Is bigger really better?

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on April 23, 2014
Are there scale economies in today's banking? And would limits on bank size negatively impact operational costs and lead to other adverse consequences? Thanks in part to advances in data collection and econometric modeling, academic researchers have begun to shed more light on these questions in recent years.

Seven steps to enhancing your investment compliance monitoring services

Posted by Lynette DeWitt, Investment Management research manager, Deloitte Services LP, on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The pursuit of operational excellence in investment compliance monitoring (ICM) is not just for its own sake. The rest of the organization benefits as well. Improved ICM capabilities assist an investment manager in responding to both internal and external pressures — and as such, can be dubbed a "linchpin" of risk mitigation activities.

Should insurers welcome their capital markets in-laws?

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on April 9, 2014
Insurance buyers are benefitting from the flood of money pouring into the property-casualty business these days outside of normal channels, but some in the industry don't quite seem to know what to make of the new wave of investors seeking diversification, non-correlated risks and better returns.

Interest rate risk: Lessons from the past raise concerns for the future

Posted by Ryan Zagone, Lead Market Insights Analyst, Banking & Securities, Deloitte Services LP, on April 2, 2014
The United States is likely heading for a period of rising interest rates, and without appropriate attention, some banks may be positioned for a margin pinch, unrealized losses may mount, and interest-sensitive revenue may be jeopardized.

Change in India, and what it could mean for U.S. financial services

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The financial services industry is shifting back into growth mode under tighter regulatory control and heightened client expectations. These factors are likely to challenge firms to focus on finding creative ways to capture market share and expand into new product offerings and markets. Will India be an inspiration?

Commercial real estate mergers & acquisitions: Is it only about capital and location?

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on March 19, 2014
Capital availability for U.S. commercial real estate (CRE) has increased gradually since the financial crisis. What approach should CRE companies adopt while assessing potential M&A and transaction activity?

IRA rollovers in the regulatory crosshairs

Posted by Sean Cunniff, Investment management research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on March 5, 2014
Many Americans have expressed a lack of both retirement confidence and trust in financial services institutions. With increased regulator focus on rollovers, financial services institutions need to address the concerns of the regulators while working to win back some of the consumers' lost trust.

To be or not to be – is behavior monitoring a win for insurers?

Posted by Michelle Canaan, Insurance Manager, Deloitte Services LP, on February 26, 2014
Mobile technology is emerging that can monitor a variety of personal behaviors. Insurers will likely be the biggest winners, as real-time monitoring devices may provide the long elusive vehicle for establishing frequent connections with their customers.

Financial services emerge from winter: Was it an ice storm or an ice age? 

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on February 19, 2014
After reflecting on our most recent industry outlooks, it seems the various sectors within financial services seem to be headed in polar opposite directions. What we are looking at now is a bifurcated industry, with some firms looking to expand and diversify, while others are streamlining and simplifying.

Health exchange glitches offer lessons for direct insurance sellers

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on February 12, 2014
Small-business insurers looking to sell coverage over the web have to get the online customer experience right or risk losing business. Are insurance carriers ready to provide an online buying experience for customers?

Fed tapering = REIT returns tapering or more?

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on February 05, 2014
The Federal Reserve announced at the end of 2013, the tapering of its quantitative easing (QE) program. How big of an effect will this have on the commercial real estate industry? And what does the Fed tapering mean for the broader economy?

The “Internet of Things” and the financial services industry

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on January 22, 2014
The “Internet of Things” is a growing phenomenon that is changing the way we do business. How should the financial services industry respond? What does the “Internet of Things” mean for how we communicate and interact with customers?

When regulations conflict – Who wins?

Posted by Sean Cunniff, Investment Management research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on January 14, 2014
In today’s multi-jurisdictional regulatory environment, conflicts between regulators are bound to arise. How can compliance officers ensure regulations are followed in firms’ often siloed teams? 

2014 could be a game-changing year for insurers

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on January 07, 2014
Consider these potential game-changing developments for the insurance industry for 2014 and beyond. 

Sunrise, sunset: Getting a jump on planning for 2014

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, December 17, 2013
The launch of Deloitte’s financial services 2014 outlooks has already begun and will be completed after the first of the year. This blog post provides a sneak peak across the sector outlooks.

Cybersecurity: Not your father’s vault

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, December 10, 2013
Perhaps even more than the increased frequency of attacks on financial institutions, is the emergence of new threat actors, that is driving the need for many financial institutions to reevaluate their cybersecurity programs.

Finance transformation in commercial real estate – Technology is key

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on December 3, 2013
In the commercial real estate sector, how have the requirements of the modern finance organization shifted? How are CFOs roles increasing to focus on improving cost efficiency and competitiveness, as well as using enhanced technology and analytics to deliver strategic insights?

Proposed liquidity rule for banks: Likely impact on liquidity management, profitability and compliance

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on November 19, 2013 
What may be the likely consequences on banks’ liquidity management strategies and compliance programs resulting from the proposed Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR)?

The geography of innovation: Does it matter?

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on November 4, 2013
Innovation. Some may view it as yet another over-hyped buzzword. Others view it as the key to survival in an ever more expanding and dynamic environment. Lately it appears much more of the latter than the former, financial services executives have a real interest in innovation, and in particular, how to make it happen.

Learning Hurricane Sandy’s lessons the hard way

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on October 29, 2013
What lessons have we learned one year post Hurricane Sandy? How might the insurance industry help commercial policyholders mitigate losses and manage claims more effectively? 

Future cities – changing shape and form of real estate

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on October 22, 2013 
The real estate sector would do well to evolve along with cities, and play a more critical role using its knowledge and expertise in the development of a city as it links into every aspect – from land acquisition to master planning, construction, finance, and estate management. Does this imply that private real estate can and should be in the driver’s seat as cities evolve?

Repos in the post-regulated world: What can we expect?

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on October 8, 2013
In the years following the economic turmoil of 2008, regulators began looking to bolster industry practices with increased regulation. All these changes, if implemented, have the potential to reshape the repo market and likely have consequences for short-term funding and the broader financial system.

'Obamacare' raises the stakes for medical malpractice carriers

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on October 1, 2013
With millions of newly insured patients expected to flood doctor’s offices as health care reform is fully implemented in just a few months, medical malpractice insurers are likely hoping for the best but bracing for the worst in terms of the law’s impact on liability trends.

Post recession: Have we come to the fork in the road – how to choose which one we take? 

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on September 24, 2013
Have we reached an inflection point as the U.S. economy recovers from the 2008 recession? As the economy and industry recovers, are we entering the “new normal”?

Business continuity – Is your institution ready for the next challenge?

Posted by Sean Cunniff, Investment Management research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on September 17, 2013
Regulators are placing a strong emphasis on business continuity planning (BCP), but some investment advisors may be treating BCP more seriously than others. Is there anything financial institutions can do to prepare for a one-in-a-billion-chance event?

Impending expiration of TRIA – A race to the finish line?

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on September 3, 2013 
With the pending expiration of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), what’s next for commercial real estate developers and the market for terrorism coverage?

Might ‘Obamacare’ bolster non-health insurer bottom lines?

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on August 27, 2013
Much of the insurance industry buzz regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has revolved around its likely impact on the operation of health carriers. But perhaps additional attention should be directed to the law’s potential effects on property and casualty insurers.

What lessons in pricing might banks learn from the airline industry?

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on August 20, 2013
Unbundling strategies have been the norm for the airline industry for years. How may the financial services industry leverage these pricing strategies to positively impact the bottom line while ensuring customer satisfaction?

Bridging the gap between left and right-brained thinking in financial services 

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on August 13, 2013
How might the financial services industry stay a step ahead by mixing analytical with creative thinking?

Is it time for investment managers to reevaluate their global operating models?

Posted by Sean Cunniff, Investment Management research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on August 6, 2013
Is now the time for investment managers to reevaluate the operational onion to gain efficiency, improve quality, lower cost and increase customer satisfaction?

Is it time yet? Redesign your commercial real estate space

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on July 23, 2013
This blog post discusses how commercial real estate companies may need to redesign space as we move to a virtual world.

Eager beavers, fence sitters, or naysayers: Are small-business consumers ready to buy insurance without an agent?

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on July 9, 2013 
This blog post discusses how many small-business insurance consumers are increasingly willing to buy coverage directly from a carrier.

Benefits vs. features: How you display products may make a difference 

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, Deloitte Services LP, on July 2, 2013
When consumers are faced with a choice among products organized by benefits, they select the cheaper items. Yet, when products are shown according to their features, consumers don’t necessarily gravitate towards the less-expensive options. This blog post discusses how benefit vs. feature display may have an impact for financial products.

The spear versus the shield: Which will lead the industry?

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on June 25, 2013
The Chinese word for paradox, maodun, literally means “spear-shield.” In financial services, the spear can be viewed as innovation and the shield as regulation. This blog post discusses how technology may enable the two to work together.

Tapping into small business owners: The value of planning and advice for retirement

Posted by Sean Cunniff, Investment Management research leader, on June 18, 2013 
Small business owners may not feel secure regarding their plans for the future, but small steps may help give them the confidence they need.

Wait and see or wait and miss out? How next-gen mobility may shake the industry to its core

Posted by Jim Eckenrode, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Services LP, on June 18, 2013 
Financial services leaders that take the “wait and see” approach may miss out on the next big thing.

Taking the leap into a secure future

Posted by Sam Friedman, Insurance research leader, on June 18, 2013 
How planning and professional advice may help ease the retirement burden.

The little growth engine that could: Non-traditional commercial real estate REIT structures 

Posted by Surabhi Sheth, Real Estate research leader, on June 18, 2013 
The real estate investment trust (REIT) structure draws attention of property owners and investors alike. So what makes it so appealing?

How will lenders adjust to tight housing supply and higher rates?

Posted by Val Srinivas, Banking & Securities research leader, on June 18, 2013 
Things are looking up for housing. But how will lenders adapt to the new market conditions?

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