We are seeing a technological revolution across the financial services industry that is changing the way that businesses interact with consumers. In turn, consumers themselves are also more tech-savvy than they have ever been.

I would highlight four areas in particular:

1. Led principally by insurance service providers in the US, and in more recent years, the U.K personal lines sector (motor and household), the growing adoption of data enrichment capabilities and digital distribution channels.

2. The use of decentralised finance (blockchain) in the financial services sector, competing in a space that was once the exclusive province of traditional banks and broker/dealers.

3. The pace of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the product development in the area of tokens in particular.

4. The emergence of digital banks with their app and internet based product offerings and their attempt in recent years to break into the mass consumer market.

With technology sitting at its heart, the highest barrier to entry in the financial services industry (aside from, obviously, experience and expertise) is the initial investment in the technological infrastructure to compete in this space with traditional, larger, but less agile players. Raising capital, however, is a significantly easier sell for digital businesses (now branded as ‘Fintech’) than it has ever been, recognising that technology is highly scalable. Indeed, in the digital world, once a business achieves brand recognition it can grow exponentially and become a seriously disruptive player.

I see Gibraltar becoming a leading hub for digital orientated financial services businesses over the next 3 years. Great strides have already been made but the sector will start to go into overdrive over the next 12 months as the new and more digitally focused world emerges from the pandemic.