By the year 2030, the role of the financial services CEO will look very different. Many factors will come together to guide this change; customer insight, for example, indicates that company leaders with emotional intelligence, who are able to engender experiences that show integrity, will be more highly-valued in the eyes of consumers.

The fragmentation of financial services will also necessitate the implementation of a different kind of CEO – one who is able to work across broad alliances as opposed to managing a large conglomerate that aims to offer a one-stop shop. This fragmentation will come in the form of niche companies offering innovative solutions to smaller problems, leading to a customer who is happy to ‘mix and match’ in order to meet their goals. 

The CEO scientist

These predictions on the shape of 2030’s financial services CEO come from KPMG’s 30 Voices on 2030 report, which is an anthology of opinions from experts in the FS sector. 

According to Dr Andrei Kirilenko, Director of the Centre for Global Finance and Technology at Imperial College Business School, the CEOs of 2030 will probably be borne out of the world of technology. “The next generations of leaders of the financial services industry will come from engineers, computer scientists, applied mathematicians…” he says. “The technology is going to change. Business practices and competition are going to change. So experience of technology and understanding how to operate in start-up mode is going to be much more valuable.”

Evolving expectations

Much of this change is being driven by a shift in what the customer expects. With smartphones, tablets, laptops and home speaker systems becoming more deeply woven into people’s lives, the way in which customers expect to carry out their business is also evolving. Even in 2018, customer insight reveals a growing expectation that a person can simply pick up the most convenient device and instantly achieve their goal. And these goals can only be met if the technology behind them is sufficiently fine-tuned; in 2030 it will be necessary for the CEO to have a complete grasp of what this entails.

However, it will not be practical for each competing company to engineer their own ecosystems. The job of the CEO will be to develop a service that works seamlessly with other applications and pieces of hardware, be it a banking app in the style of Monzo, or a voice-activated speaker system like Google Home. 


As such, the role of a CEO as a purely functional leader will come to an end. As well as staying abreast of the latest technology, CEOs will need wisdom in their handling of relationships with other brands. With multiple services working in harmony with one another, the brand leaders will need to devise ways to work with multiple organisations for the benefit of the customer, and in a manner which is profitable. Some relationships may be exclusive. Others may be a little harder to define, with the service provider representing both a competitor and a friend. Regardless, it will be necessary for incumbent CEOs to take a collaborative approach to the way they run their brands if they are to survive in a more connected world governed by high expectations.

The currency of data

Finally, the CEO’s approach to data will need to evolve. It will become much more of a currency in the eyes of consumers, and they will recognise its value to a brand and will be far less willing to part with information unless there is a tangible value proposition. For CEOs, this will depend on winning over and sustaining the trust of customers; a failure to do this could result in a loss of their loyalty and advocacy. The plethora of choice will be such in 2030 that it will not be difficult for a consumer to seek an alternative brand that can meet their needs in a frictionless manner. Therefore, brands will need to act with integrity and in a way that genuinely enhances a person’s life, if they are to retain their custom.

As such, science, collaboration and integrity will be three factors that typify the financial services CEO of 2030. In 2018, brand leaders should be looking at ways to start evolving their customer experience strategies and business models to prepare for the changes ahead. Customer-centricity is the unifying factor that will determine a brand’s survival, and a continual use of customer insight will help to keep brands – and their CEOs – on the right path as they meander through the evolving world of financial services. 


Learn more from our industry experts and download the full report ‘30 Voices on 2030: The Future of Financial Services’.