by Vaishnavi J Desai

Technology transformation to make Financial Services industry more affordable: Ashu Gupta, PNB Met Life

Jan 27, 2016

Ashu Gupta, Head-IT of PNB Met Life explains how the much awaited technological transformation in the Indian FSI sector will make the industry more affordable, secure, and accessible.

2016 is a crucial year of this decade as every sector prepares to speed up in the race to be the best by 2020. And financial services isn’t left behind in the race. Ashu Gupta of PNB Met Life talks about the growth, emergence of open platform and technologies that will transform the industry.

What are the key drivers of growth for Financial Services sector in 2016?

Financial sector reforms are expected to have lasting influence. A new pro-business government at the center continues to liberalize, regulate & enhance industry. Capital infusion in Govt banks, Infra Financing via long-term bonds & Insurance FDI would be among the many remarkable enhancements. For Insurance sector, FDI will not only bring in capital but will also enable companies to improve penetration in the country while leveraging world class technology & innovation. IRDA has launched initiatives such as Aadhaar Integration & eKYC with the Insurance companies which will help lead to growth in terms of the quality of the information of the customers. At PNB Met Life, we are working towards integrating our Sales mobile App and various online portals with UIDAI for easy and seamless authentication through eKYC.

What according to you is the single most trend that will evolve in 2016 in Financial Services sector?

The emergence of open platforms in the financial sector will be a key movement in 2016. This shift from competition to collaboration will help kick start a renewed wave of innovation in this sector. Open platforms will transform banks and insurance Companies into ‘app stores’ that host the best products in areas as diverse as lending, financial management, insurance product comparison and digital currencies. It will be a win-win for both sides. The Financial Companies will benefit from lower development costs and lower fraud due to centralized customer information. At the end, both customer and Corporates will win.

Today, customer satisfaction is judged not by the smile on the face of a cashier, but on the speed with which one can gain mobile access

What according to you are the technologies that will accelerate innovation in the sector?

A technological transformation is expected to make financial services more accessible, more affordable and more secure. In my opinion – Social media shall become part of a digitally transformed ecosystem, resulting into more sophisticated content marketing. More than 88% of customers are influenced by opinion of other customers & messaging apps have become new social media. SMS has become a key for engaging the existing customer and on-boarding the new customer. Today, customer satisfaction is judged not by the smile on the face of a cashier, but on the speed with which one can gain mobile access

In addition, use of APIs to make business functions available as components on the Internet (think how Google Maps can be integrated into other applications and web sites). At PNB Metlife, we have recently revamped our existing website using ‘Tridion’ technology for seamless Content Management and ‘best in class’ customer experience.

What are some of the major areas of opportunities in 2016?

India is today one of the most vibrant global economies, on the back of robust banking and insurance sectors. The country is projected to become the fifth largest banking sector globally by 2020, as per a joint report by KPMG-Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The relaxation of foreign investment rules has received a positive response from the insurance sector, with many companies announcing plans to increase their stakes in joint ventures with Indian companies. The companies should strategically apply analytics to more effectively meet customers’ financial needs which is key opportunity for them to increase their customer base. With more than 900 million mobile subscribers, India has a burgeoning desire for internet on mobile, and the same should be expected for payments and commerce on mobile. Mobile payments are already gaining traction. For example nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already pay with their phones. And, substantial consumers use their smartphones to pay because of loyalty benefits.  NFCs & Mobile Payments are surely major opportunities in 2016.