As financial services communicators prepare for the uncertain backdrop of 2020, new research from comms giant FleishmanHillard offers a look ahead to the challenges and opportunities that exist for the sector in year to come. The firm’s newly released report, We Are All Invested, provides a collection of expert points of view on changing geopolitical dynamics, new definitions of corporate purpose and trends in technology, commerce and behavioral finance.

In 2020 and beyond, the intersection of authenticity and purpose is what will power the most successful (and profitable) businesses, allowing them to connect with their stakeholders and seize new opportunities. The new report addresses many themes being experienced in society today, with insight on how the financial industry can navigate them.

We Are All Investedis a clarion call,” said Emily K. Graham, co-lead of FleishmanHillard’s Financial and Professional Services sector in the Americas, in a news release. “What’s at stake is deeply personal for many of us and it speaks to values, ethics and responsibility. The financial and professional services sector has much to do to get its own house in order in terms of diversity and inclusion, gender equality, environmental impact and more. But it is also positioned to lead and bring other sectors along as it seeks to make those strides forward. FleishmanHillard is here to help organizations understand the issues, overcome the challenges and take purposeful action—because we’re invested too.”

Preparing the financial services sector for 2020—Fleishman outlines comms challenges

Key topics addressed in the study include:

Supporting financial health across generations

Each generation is facing its own set of financial obstacles—from Gen Z, which emerged on the job market during a recession with less earning potential, to Generation X, which is trying to determine how much they need to save to retire, to the baby boomers who are hoping their retirement funds will last. Financial literacy is one key to increase financial wellness across the age spectrum. And because receiving better value is the most important expectation consumers have when evaluating companies in the investment industry, providing consumers more for the proverbial buck can offer a competitive advantage.

Preparing the financial services sector for 2020—Fleishman outlines comms challenges

Enacting purpose

Nearly 70 percent of consumers want organizations to demonstrate not just customer benefits, but greater positive societal and environmental impact. For financial services companies, being able to define, articulate and put rigor behind purpose strategies is key. Financial services providers are also in the unique position to transform the infrastructure of our global financial system to empower and reward those companies that look beyond shareholders to stakeholders—and beyond profits to purpose.

Preparing the financial services sector for 2020—Fleishman outlines comms challenges

Going digital

Massive global adoption of mobile wallets, contactless cards and other digital payment options is designed to make non-cash transactions significantly easier. But a cashless society isn’t without its critics. Discussion of the unbanked or underbanked being left behind, along with concerns about the security of going cashless, are slowing its progress in some markets. But a cashless future is only a matter of time. As the transition happens, financial institutions need to focus on data security and data privacy, two items on the top of consumers’ lists of what they care about—83 percent and 82 percent respectively—communicating clearly about what they are doing and why.

Preparing the financial services sector for 2020—Fleishman outlines comms challenges

Read the full report here.

The Authenticity Gap study was conducted by FleishmanHillard’s TRUE Global Intelligence™ practice. The survey included a total of 7,364 engaged consumers in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, U.K. and the U.S., 18 years of age and older. Engaged consumers represent on average 29% of the population of adults. The survey was fielded online between April 19 and May 22, 2019.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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