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Creating Value in Financial Services: Strategies, Operations and Technologies

Creating Value in Financial Services: Strategies, Operations and Technologies

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Professors Edward L. Melnick, Praveen R. Nayyar, Michael L. Pinedo and Sridhar Seshadri, all from New York University, have created a work that will most certainly be of interest to both academic and business readers with an interest in the future of global financial services. Motivating this book is the recognition that the financial services industry is undergoing an ever-increasing rate of change, and that management tools for dealing with this change are not current. `Service' is the cornerstone of the new business paradigm in the financial services industry. It is driven by the twin revolutions of disintermediation and deregulation and combined with technology to form a huge competitive force within the industry. Recognizing the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem, the editors of Creating Value in Financial Services have called upon colleagues at a number of academic and business institutions to fashion a resource for those who wish to understand and begin to address the challengesthat lie ahead. Whether they write about distribution, regulation, consolidation or diversification, the authors provide a well-conceived description of the problems and an analysis of potential solutions. There are chapters that identify sources of value-added for end-users, skews in customer profitability and the increase in consumer price sensitivity that will make profitability in financial services more difficult to attain.

As technology continues to improve, customers will have the ability to choose from an assortment of specialized providers to write cheques, make deposits, transfer money, get cash, and pay bills via the Internet. The implications are not short of a financial revolution. Information technology gives buyers of financial services increasing power. Providers will have to innovate or face a competitive climate of commodity pricing. Merrill Lynch has changed its historic, and highly successful, bundled approach, and is dividing its business into advice that will be fee-based, and brokerage which will be available on-line and priced more like a commodity. It will likely result in greater pressures on firm profits and employee earnings, while providing increasingly favorable options for customers.

In identifying the problem of the upheaval in financial services, the editors have given the reader a great deal to contemplate. They make clear that deregulation is accelerating the blurring of boundaries between insurance, commercial banking, investment banking and brokerage. At the same time, the worldwide demographics for the financial services industry have never been better. This convergence of competitive change and increasing opportunity make a book like this especially timely -- one that carefully analyzes the need for specialized financial services, and the importance of these services to be delivered efficiently with moderate cost. It is increasingly apparent that critical for success in the financial services industry is an innovative, flexible management team who can recognize and act on these fast-moving developments.