Challenges and opportunities for Procurement in Financial Services – sign up for our webinar

The Financial Services (FS) industry has gone through a period of turmoil as severe as almost any other major global business sector over the last twenty years. Household name firms such as Lehman Brothers in the US or Dai-Ichi Kangyo in Japan disappeared, and the banking crisis of 2007-8 almost brought down the world's economic system, not to mention entire countries such as Iceland. Arguably, poor practices, slack regulation and some individual's greed in the sector were major causes of the recent, severe global recession.

On the positive side, the global market for financial services is growing strongly as developing countries grow richer.  But that growth isn’t automatically going to the established forces. Instead, the worlds of banking, retail services and technology are converging. Mobile phone credits are used for trading in many countries, never mind even wilder new ‘currencies’ such as Bitcoins. Supermarkets are major providers of insurance and savings products in the UK, whilst legacy IT systems in the banking industry look increasingly vulnerable to attack or simply decay. New market challengers, unencumbered by  the cost base of established players, are fundamentally changing the landscape.

So through all of this, how should procurement practitioners in the industry respond? The good news for the profession is that, over the last 20 years, there has been a steady growth in the number and professionalism of procurement functions and people in the sector. No major FS firm now would be without a procurement function – not the case when I worked as Nat West Group’s last CPO, before the Royal Bank of Scotland take-over in 2000 (which in itself, we might argue, sowed the seeds of the banking crisis years later  – but that’s another story!)

But the positioning of the sector now, and the status of many firms within it, also brings challenges for procurement, from the pressure on costs to the risk and compliance environment; from a challenging internal stakeholder base to the need for firms to show they are responsible corporate citizens. From the people I still know well in the industry, it is an interesting but pretty stressful place to be working right now in many organizations.

It's some years since I worked full time in the sector, but I've continued with occasional consulting assignments, and still have many friends and ex colleagues in the sector. So I'm looking forward to the chance to discuss these and other issues in our forthcoming webinar titled A Sector in Turmoil? Challenges for Procurement in the Financial Services Industry , sponsored by procurement software and solutions provider SciQuest.  That’s on Thursday May 8th at 3pm UK time, 4pm most of Western Europe.

Along with Lindsay Sloan of SciQuest, I’ll be looking at the issues and challenges for procurement in the sector, and proposing some steps procurement professionals might want to consider. I'm hoping we might get some interesting input and / or questions from listeners too. So join us – free on registration here – for what I'm sure will be an interesting and worthwhile 45 minutes or so on May 8th.

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