With total annual revenues of $1 trillion—and over $100 billion in economic profit—it looks like capital markets are booming once again. But behind the headline figures, there are some striking disparities within the industry. Accenture’s latest research, Capital Markets Vision 2022: Relevance, Value and Growth in the Digital Age, shows just how much.

While most buy-side players and some investment banks (a few very large, and many mid-sized and small players) are creating real shareholder value, other sell-side players can’t say the same. Moreover, unsustainable cost structures make the industry highly prone to future disruption.

Further change in the years ahead

Some observers expect the industry to now “normalize” and look much as it did before the financial crisis. But our outlook for the years ahead is very different.

Quantitative easing will have tapered off by 2022, and central banks are already on their way to becoming net sellers of securities. This, combined with the impact of innovative new technologies and a digitizing value chain, will have highly disruptive effects on revenue pools, creating new growth for some and forcing a fundamental rethink from others.

Three trends in particular are already driving that disruption:

  1. As price discovery is increasingly shifting to platforms, the traditional balance between industry segments is being reshuffled.
  2. Technology-led innovation is driving change across the industry, with first artificial intelligence and then distributed ledgers set to bring radical new opportunities.
  3. There is still ample untapped digitalization potential across the entire value chain, thus creating opportunities for disrupters.

Thriving in a fast-changing landscape

The impact? Every industry player, however profitable, needs to take a fresh view of their market segment to understand how volume and margins might develop and how key interactions in the marketplace might evolve.

With resources limited, they’ll need a clear focus to develop winning strategies and maintain competitiveness. Above all, they’ll need to be ready to change their own businesses and start a journey to the new.

In essence that means answering three questions:

  1. What opportunities will our new operating environment create?
  2. How do we need to adapt to thrive in that environment?
  3. How do we do so given resource constraints and profitability pressures?

Based on our latest research, we’ve been talking to players across the capital markets industry. As a result, we’ve developed a framework of 17 key strategic decisions to help firms find their own answers to these questions.

To find out more, visit: Capital Markets Vision 2022: Relevance, Value and Growth in the Digital Age