Financial services firms are facing an unprecedented range of strategic challenges, both from within and outside the industry. Consumer behaviors and financial needs are changing as a result of demographic shifts, social change and the acceptance of new technology as a means of delivering financial services. The availability of data and the resulting ability to understand customers better is increasing rapidly, inspiring a move away from product-centric approaches and toward more customer-centric models. Traditional business models are being disrupted directly by these trends, and by the emergence of the new fintech models they enable.
Political events such as Brexit, and (new and existing) restrictions on international capital flows, are likely to alter the natural evolution of global markets and change how international firms do business across borders. Regulation is becoming increasingly proactive and detailed in many jurisdictions.
A decade after the onset of the global financial crisis, its aftereffects persist in the form of historically low-interest rates and an ongoing lack of trust in the major traditional financial services brands. These challenges are forcing established companies to think strategically about where to invest and which new avenues of growth they may want to explore. They also create opportunities for disruptors that can offer customers both a new ethos and a new approach to delivering financial products and services.
How we help
Financial services companies of all sizes engage L.E.K. to help them develop practical, winning strategies for a dynamic market. We work in close partnership with senior executives and investors to resolve their most complex commercial challenges, committing significant senior time to every engagement. Our teams leverage both their deep sector knowledge and advanced analytical capability to develop the right approach to achieving clients’ goals:
- Strategy review and development: We help our clients review, refine or develop their overarching corporate or business unit strategies. This starts from the highest-level goal setting, definition of vision and mission, and setting of risk appetite and other constraints and proceeds to support “where to play” choices in terms of industry sectors or product categories, geographies, stages in the value chain, customer segments and channels.
- New market entry strategy, and new product and service development: We help our clients expand into new geographies and market segments. This includes mature and emerging geographical markets; consumer and business/commercial markets; mainstream and niche product areas; direct and intermediated markets; and new, innovative markets enabled by the rapid changes that are ongoing in financial services. Our market entry strategies for clients open the door to growth and long-term value creation, with a proven track record of success.
- Identification and execution of value-creating transactions: We support our clients at every stage of the deal lifecycle, from evaluation to execution and integration, acting in both buy-side and sell-side roles. We create and deliver on innovative investment theses based on in-depth understanding of the underlying markets and their competitive dynamics, customers’ preferences and behaviors, and the specific differentiating characteristics of the assets under consideration.
- Optimization of operations: L.E.K. works closely with clients to optimize processes, operations and organizational structures across the value chain. Frequent topics include commercial effectiveness, incentives and operating model design, including detailed assessment of the capabilities required to turn a “paper strategy” into practical success.
- Advocate and protect their interests in litigation proceedings and regulatory matters: We have substantial experience in supporting clients in competition investigations and litigation situations, including in drafting formal submissions, and supporting or acting as expert witnesses. We employ a unique combination of commercial insight and analytical expertise to produce compelling arguments and evidence to withstand the detailed scrutiny and challenge inherent in these situations.
- L.E.K. supported a global provider of healthcare equipment to develop a stand-alone healthcare-focused leveraged finance business. The client successfully entered more than eight country markets and is achieving annual profits in the tens of millions of dollars.
- We supported an insurance provider to identify opportunities for expansion into new product areas that would achieve maximum traction with existing customers. As a result of our work, the client is growing strongly with renewed confidence about its position in the industry.
- L.E.K. was engaged by a leading provider of insurance broking software to improve its commercial effectiveness, specifically in sales and distribution. We undertook a detailed segmentation and assessment of customer needs, and devised a fundamentally new service model. Our work led to substantial improvements in revenue per key customer and more efficient service approaches to lower-tier customers.
- L.E.K. helped a private equity-owned payment services provider to double EBITDA by identifying and executing growth and performance improvement initiatives. The impact of our work also enabled the owner to achieve a successful exit from the business.
- One of Europe’s largest retail banks was planning to introduce a new incentive scheme for the branch and customer service managers of their network. This scheme was to be based on the drivers of Net Promoter Scores (NPS). L.E.K. assisted in developing the new incentive scheme to motivate value-maximizing behavior and increase NPS.