The Bank of Montreal has found that millennials are leading the way in online investing and digital banking solutions
Contributing 3.3% to Canada’s GDP, the banking industry is being disrupted by consumer demands for digital applications which provide increased accessibility and convenience.
Employing more than 275,000 citizens in 2017, the percentage of Canadians who believe banks are bringing forth exceptional innovations remains considerably high.
The number of Canadians that undertake their banking digitally through online and mobile applications, continues to grow, with digital investing being no exception. Opening up the ability for customers to access a level of portfolio management services, the awareness of digital investing, and the advantages, is also gaining momentum. From June 2017 - June 2018, the bulk of total personal spending (76%) by Canadians aged 18 and older was completed using digital payment methods, including debit and credit cards, preauthorized payments or online banking.
With total assets of CAD$807bn, and housing a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12mn customers. Conducting business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets, its InvestorLine has released the results of a survey conducted by Parameter Insights. Undertaken in October 2018, the study examined consumer views on digital investing and access to online wealth management platforms.
Through the survey, up to 51% of Canadians were found to be ‘slightly/somewhat familiar’ with knowledge of a ‘robo-advisor’ service. This growing familiarity is also reflected through higher adoption rates amongst BMO’s suite of online investing products.
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“Online investing can appear to be intimidating, but we are seeing a shift in attitudes through adoption rates for BMO adviceDirect and BMO SmartFolio,” commented Silvio Stroescu, President, BMO InvestorLine. “BMO adviceDirect has seen four times the growth in adoption year over year. Our digital advice services are proving to change perceptions about investing, particularly for Canadians who are open to an easier way to build wealth but are wary of managing finances online or do not think they can afford to do so.”
Additionally, the survey found that millennials are increasingly utilizing technology to help manage their savings and investments at 86%, with Generation X closely following at 78%. Boomers are split, with 50% preferring to use technology to keep track of their investments.
Other findings include:
- 59% of millennials want to “automate more aspects” of their financial life
- 81% of Gen Xers are comfortable making financial transactions online
- 41% of the Greatest Generation (those aged 71 years and older) are using technology to manage savings/investments
“Despite the variation in adoption among age groups, it is clear that overall adoption of digital investing is gaining momentum,” added Stroescu in a recent press release. “Our mission is to inspire Canadians to take action by offering innovative digital investing products that deliver on value - empowering and helping them to reach their financial goals.”
BMO's team of expert digital investing Portfolio Managers and Chartered Financial Analysts continue to make investment decisions that align with a client's investment objectives and risk tolerance. Its model portfolios are monitored and rebalanced when required to help keep clients on track with their investment objectives.
Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda
New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.
According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.
And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.
Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.
Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax
Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.
According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”
Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models
Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.
Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected
in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.
"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."
Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities
Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.
At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”
Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting
Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.
Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact
Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements
Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.