Lobby group finds financial sector could add £43 billion to the UK

The obvious question posed by reports like this is, “what does it mean in practice?”.

Lobby group finds financial sector could add £43 billion to the UK

Few will argue with the thrust of its messages, but only a small proportion will know what they should actually do in practice. The challenge is complicated by the likelihood that most institutions believe they are already delivering these things – banks see themselves as customer-centric, regulators as firm but fair.

One good place to start might be financial services infrastructure. What if banks shared outlets? The services delivered are virtually commoditised, so why not have unbranded ATMs and branches “come alive” as my chosen bank only when I present my card? At a stroke, it would rip out duplication and cannibalisation and might even address the political context of branch closures. Inasmuch as advice is heavily regulated these days, it might even be possible to provide some of that centrally, too.

In terms of regulation, ironically, “easier” regulation may not be a boon to innovation; the best ideas spring when constraints are tight. Thus, regulators should remain focused on their day job, within the context of the wider economy, and thereby ensure that innovation must be excellent to see the light of day.