News & Views

FSI needs sustainability drive

Governments need to do more to drive sustainability in the FSI, says research from iResearch Services (www.iresearchservices.com), the global data-driven thought leadership agency.

In a global poll of 550 decision makers working within financial services enterprises, banks, hedge funds, insurance and pensions firms, more than half (57%) of financial service professionals believe that governments around the world need to do a better job of supporting the implementation of sustainability initiatives, with 42% suggesting that policymakers must get involved to accelerate the necessary changes and to bring in regulation that enforces sustainability.

Research shows that FSI organizations spend the highest portion of their total annual budget on digital transformation and IT (39%), while 25% goes on staff training and skills development.  But most significantly, more than a quarter (28%) of this budget goes on initiatives and technology that will help to make their business operate sustainably.  However, 39% of those surveyed believe that initiatives have lost pace due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These responses clearly demonstrate that financial services firms are willing to put their money where their mouth is,” comments Yogesh Shah, CEO at iResearch Services.  “It is clear that sustainability initiatives are demanded by customers, partners and prospects.  Moving forwards, it won’t be enough to simply show good intentions, but to demonstrate tangible outcomes as well.”

Almost one in five (15%) of the firms polled are investing in excess of £2 million per year into sustainability strategies, 22% are spending between £1 million and £2 million, while a third (30%) spend between £500,000 and £1 million.  Only 15% of firms polled spend less than £250,000 annually on sustainable initiatives.

According to 48% of respondents, the biggest driver for firms to put in place sustainability strategies is to demonstrate alignment with their core vision and values.  Despite this, one-in-ten (11%) are doing it to keep up with competitors, and only 5% suggest it would lead to commercial growth.

“Employees and employers are in sync on the issue of sustainability, both sides perceive the need for sustainable initiatives as paramount to the future of their business,” comments Shah.  “What is perhaps surprising is that only a small portion of financial services professionals feel the bottom line will be affected.”

Around the world, institutions in China are leading the way with investment of more than £2 million (40%).  In Europe, Germany (24%) leads the way spending over £2 million, compared to 12% in the US, and only 8% in the UK.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded at 
www.iresearchservices.com/report/how-sustainable-is-financial-services