UK banks top global list for boardroom technology experience — Accenture

Examining the technology experience within the boardrooms of banks worldwide in 2020, the report from Accenture found that expertise in the UK is now up from 14% in 2015, and is now overtaking the US.

On a wider geographical basis, however, North America has on average the higher proportion of technology experience on boards (16%), compared with Europe (8%).

A vertical bar chart showing the technology experience of bank board members in 2015 and 2020.
Source: Accenture

Despite tech experience within most countries’ bank boardrooms increasing over the last five years, the research shows that banks globally continue to lack sufficient expertise at boardroom level.

While banks have been ramping up their technology investments to keep pace with changing consumer demands, such as digital interaction amidst Covid-19, bank boardrooms overall lack the technology expertise to minimise risks while maximising the benefits of their investments.

Accenture recommends that 25% of banks’ board directors should have technology experience, but globally, only one in 10 (10%) directors and CEOs were found to have such know-how, up from 6% and 4% respectively five years ago.

One-third (33%) of banks, meanwhile, still have no board members with professional technology experience, but the amount of female board directors with technology experience has grown over the last five years from 19% in 2015 to 33% today.

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“The rise in tech experience on bank boards is a logical result of their heavy investments in new technologies such as cloud computing and data analytics,” said Laura O’Sullivan, managing director in Accenture’s Banking practice.

“Without the know-how at board level to advise on how these technologies will be implemented strategically, these investments could go to waste.

“In the UK, we’re seeing banks take on this expertise at a faster rate due to its leading Fintech market. Government is hugely supportive of investment in both fintech and new competition, which has given birth to a number of highly competitive neobanks that the incumbents simply can’t afford to ignore.

“In many ways, though, the numbers illustrate how much further banks have to go. Covid-19 will only have accelerated investments in new technologies and digital services, which will amount to a big missed opportunity if banks can’t take on the experience needed to drive this agenda at pace.”

Accenture analysed the professional background of nearly 2,000 executive and non-executive directors of more than 100 of the largest banks by assets in the world. The full report can be found here.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.