Bank tech initiatives ‘held back by the boardroom’

A lack of understanding among C-suite executives is holding back investments in banking technology, a new survey finds.

IT professionals at financial services firms are keen to upgrade their technology solutions to take advantage of the latest developments – but these plans are often being held back by a lack of similar enthusiasm from the boardroom.

This is among the findings of a recent survey by Luxsoft, which revealed 86 percent of IT heads at European banks had proposed a major digital project, only to see it rejected by senior executives in the C-suite.

One of the biggest challenges facing such initiatives is a lack of understanding in the boardroom about what these projects are capable of achieving, with misconceptions and unrealistic expectations among the most commonly cited issues.

Overall, more than three-quarters of IT professionals (78 percent) said boardroom executives do not understand the technology. This problem was found to be particularly prevalent in the UK, where 85 percent of respondents stated this. By comparison, the figure for Germany was 76 percent – still high, but indicative of a greater engagement with technology among banking executives.

“Technologists in finance want to be the gateway to innovation, but right now they are unable to influence decisions at the top,” stated Roman Trakhtenberg, group managing director at Luxoft Financial Services. “Instead, IT professionals in finance are stuck dealing with internal legacy systems and imminent cyber-risks, and are not getting the support they need to implement real change.”

Other issues uncovered by the study included a lack of investment in technology efforts among financial services firms. More than four-fifths of IT pros (81 percent) said they were frustrated by the fact they were being asked to deliver innovation at the same time they are being asked to cut costs.

Some 78 percent of banking IT departments also say they are underfunded, with this being an especially acute problem among smaller firms. 97 percent of IT heads and small and medium-sized banks stated they need greater investment in order to deliver the services that are expected of them.

Written by Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal is's resident news reporter. He writes regular blogs covering the latest stories and key developments in the global financial services industry.

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