Skip to main content

We'd prefer it if you saw us at our best. is not optimized for Internet Explorer. For the optimal experience, please use:

Close Deprecation Notice

Risk-Averse attitude could hold back financial services innovation, says research

Study suggests retail banks and insurers could struggle to weather the oncoming storm of digital disruption unless they take bolder risks with innovation

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – September 19, 2016 – A risk-averse attitude could hold back financial services organizations and prevent them from fostering a culture of innovation, according to research undertaken by Marketforce. The study was conducted on behalf of Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ: PEGA), a provider of strategic applications for customer engagement, and Cognizant, a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services.

The study surveyed 500 retail financial services and insurance industry executives across 56 countries to examine the challenges and opportunities they face in a time of rapid technological change. It found that nearly two-thirds of all executives (61 percent) felt their governing board would tolerate a maximum failure rate for innovation pilots of only 30 percent or less, indicating the existence of a deeply-rooted ‘safety-first’ culture within the industry that could hold back innovation. This is at odds with the fact that 98 percent of all survey respondents agreed that the most important contributing factor to innovation in retail financial services was the need to move outside of their comfort zone, ‘think beyond traditional boundaries,’ and ‘identify new ways of meeting consumer needs.’

This is particularly troubling considering that many within the financial services industry predict that a storm of digital disruption caused by the arrival of many new, innovative technologies is on the horizon. Fifty percent of all survey respondents said that digitally-savvy new entrants to the market will be either ‘massively’ or ‘significantly’ disruptive in the next five years, while more than one-third (39 percent) made the same prediction about the Internet of Things. Meanwhile, a quarter of those interviewed said that blockchain would have a ‘significantly’ disruptive effect within the same period.

Quotes & Commentary

“Banks and insurers will have to realize they will need to fail fast and learn quickly if they are to engage with the digital transformation process required to remain competitive,” said Graham Lloyd, director and industry principal of financial services, Pegasystems. “In my opinion, a 50 percent failure rate should be the absolute minimum that any of these organizations should be willing to accept if they are to cultivate a successful culture of innovation, as anything lower than this signals a lack of commitment to embracing change. Senior figures within these businesses must take the time to walk in their customers’ shoes and see innovation failures less in terms of cost and more in terms of learnings and savings. Only by opening themselves up to the innovation imperative – along with the associated risks – can the industry avoid being left behind by the new age of digital disruption.”

To download a copy of the Future of Retail Financial Services report, please visit:

Share this page Share via x Share via LinkedIn Copying...

Lisa Pintchman
VP, Corporate Communications
[email protected]
+1 617-866-6022

North America

Sean Audet
Director, Corporate Communications
[email protected]
+1 617-528-5230

Ilena Ryan
Sr. Manager, Public Relations
[email protected]
+1 617-866-6722


Joanna Richardson
Director, Corporate Communications
[email protected]
+44 (0) 118 9651 660

Jon Brigden
PR & Communications Manager
[email protected]
+44 (0) 118 9398 584

Share this page Share via x Share via LinkedIn Copying...