7 Reasons Why Leaders at Financial Services Firms Lie Awake at Night

Did you know that before Edison invented the lightbulb, people slept an average of ten hours a night? Today, Americans average less than eight hours of sleep per night (less than seven on weeknights).

And while no one has performed a sleep study focused specifically on financial services leaders, it would be safe to assume they get less sleep than the general population. Here are seven reasons why:  

  1. They're waiting for someone to regulate their sleep patterns.

Financial services is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. Those who lead financial services firms must not only ensure their companies are aware of (and are prepared for) reform rollouts, but they must also meet exact compliance specifications or face stiff (and often expensive) discipline and intensified scrutiny.  

  1. Less money, mo' problems.

Many financial services firms are having a hard time increasing revenues. For a typical small bank, about a quarter of all operating expenses are allocated toward paying the costs of government regulation. To stay fiscally fit, many financial services firms are focusing on cost cutting measures, which isn’t nearly as enjoyable as raising revenue.  

  1. Risk management: Easier when it's someone else's company.

Often, financial services leaders make their hay by helping customers manage risk. It’s a good thing that financial services leaders are good at risk management because in an industry that is acutely focused on governance, compliance and transparency, they need to be.  

  1. The home (grown technology) needs more than a paint job.

Rapid regulatory change and intense competition have forced many financial services firms to become early adopters of technology. And because technology solutions (as a whole) have been slow to offer the required capabilities, the financial services industry has a larger proportion of “homegrown” technology. Today, more financial services firms are fast to adopt “game-changing” technologies as more firms are moving away from homegrown solutions.  

  1. Can I trust our internal audit?

This is what financial services leaders blurt out when they wake in the middle of the night. The ramifications of failing a regulatory audit are immense, so it’s no wonder why those with their necks on the line sweat internal auditing capabilities up until the ultimate pass/fail.  

  1. “Too big to fail” firms have become a big problem.

The notion of “too big to fail” has driven financial firms to disaggregate into more specialized business units due to government pressure. For many SMB financial services firms, this means competing with the giants of finance on a hyperlocal level. Increased competition is just another addition to the long list of challenges for financial services industry leaders.  

  1. Wishing I could be like the cool kids.

‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to get [the top talent]. When it comes to recruiting and retaining a talented staff, financial services firms compete with companies in the “information” business such as Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. In order to better compete on the talent front, more companies are prioritizing mobile solutions that make their employees work lives easier. At Concur, we’ve found that mobile travel and expense management solutions that include gamification features are attractive to employees of all ages.

Sleep better tonight once you learn why a capable expense management solution is critical for financial services firms.


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