This year's most-read FStech stories

With 2019 nearly over, we crunched the numbers and can bring you a round-up of FStech’s most popular stories of the year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the rising number of data mishaps across banking, increased regulatory scrutiny on operational resilience and an apparent surge in schadenfreude, TSB’s data migration saga garnered the most clicks.

The peak came in March, when the chairman of parent company Sabadell addressed the annual shareholder meeting to state that a three-year turnaround and cost-cutting plan was required before the British challenger bank could be a candidate for sale or consolidation.

That three-year strategy was announced last month, with 82 branch closures set to close next year, along with an increase investment in IT.

This came soon after the independent review of the botched 2018 migration to a new IT platform, which cristicised the board for failing to address “common sense challenges” and of Banco Sabadell for not making them aware of the extent of problems prior to the switch.

The second highest read article of 2019 was about an outage in August affecting RBS and NatWest online services, which locked customers out of the app and website.

On a more positive note, traditional High Street banks adopting new technology was also popular with readers – among those collaborations of most interest were Lloyds Bank partnering with distributed ledger technology firm Komgo to launch a blockchain-based platform for its commercial banking division; Deutsche Bank chosing Finantix for a new artificial intelligence-powered Know Your Customer solution; and Santander revealing plans to spend more than €20 billion in digitisation and technology.

It was also a year for anniversaries, with January marking a year of Open Banking. The report card was marked ‘must do better’, as a range of stakeholders lamented a lack of consumer understanding and limited progress in terms of new products and services.

Also in January, the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) rules celebrated one year of implementation, with the updated regulation proving to be a boon for RegTech providers, offering affected financial services firms new solutions to ensure compliance.

In May, the General Data Protection Regulation turned one, with anticipated hefty fines and ambulance-chasing Subject Access Requests not yet coming to pass, although figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office did show and alarming rise in data breaches – from 3,311 reports during 2017/18 to 14,072 from 25 May 2018 to 1 May 2019.

Finally, our feature articles remained popular, as FStech aimed to dig a bit deeper into the trends underlying the biggest FinTech news stories.

We looked at one of the areas of financial services most ripe for disruption, and asked whether a new breed of LenTech firms could finally break down the vested interests within the mortgage industry.

Another long-read investigated how a new battleground is emerging for the investment money being made and inherited by younger generation, who are increasingly demanding a better digital experience from wealth managers.

A final major trend this year was for big regulatory penalties being levied for breaches in transaction reporting and Anti-Money Laundering rules – which we argued has highlighted the need for more automated RegTech solutions.

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