The verdict is out: In the second edition of SIX’s annual Future of Finance study, financial executives from around the world revealed that data – in varied applications and in varied sectors of the industry – is currently having a moment in the spotlight. In addition, the role of financial market infrastructure (FMI) providers is seen as increasingly systemically important.

In his foreword in the report, SIX’s CEO Jos Dijsselhof wrote that along with AI, advancement in data and analytics is “perceived as a tremendous opportunity by executives across the globe – with momentum building and curiosity growing as to how these developments can be meaningfully applied.”

Indeed, high quality data, paired with analytics capabilities to match, is seen as the biggest growth driver in the UK, garnering votes from 53 percent of the respondents from the country. Globally, 35 percent of respondents consider it the biggest growth driver, second only to AI at 38 percent. ESG data is where executives expect to see the biggest increases in spending, topping the polls among respondents from the UK, US and Hong Kong, and coming out in the top three for those from Spain and Switzerland.

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“Beyond merely increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs, it (data) is seen as a direct contributor to how companies outperform their competition, enhance returns for customers, and deliver organic growth,” stated the paper.

FMIs’ time to shine

Given “an increasingly complex market landscape characterised by disruptive technologies, changing regulations, and elevated geopolitical unrest”, it perhaps comes with no surprise that 91 percent of respondents expressed the belief that FMIs “will become increasingly systemically important in the future”.

Areas where respondents feel FMIs can deliver meaningful value were quite evenly split, with five areas leading with slight margins: cloud-based infrastructure; data and analytics; price formation in public markets; trusted web3 services; and real-time payments and settlements. Cloud-based infrastructure garnered votes from 26 percent of the respondents. The rest had 24 percent.