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Accenture 2015 Global Structural Reform Study: Unlocking the potential

Capital markets risk leaders identify next steps for the risk function.


As they reshape the financial services industry in light of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, global regulators have introduced a series of structural reform regulations to help build resilience. Global Structural Reform (GSR) is creating a new financial services ecosystem for institutions.

Accenture’s 2015 Global Structural Reform Study finds senior management working to thrive in what amounts to an all-new financial services landscape. They are investing effort and funds in their response to GSR, but their focus is on meeting regulatory demands. While that represents a good starting point, our study finds institutions might be missing out when it comes to meeting the strategic implications of reform and using reform as an opportunity to reposition the organization for sustainable growth



The financial crisis shed light on the financial industry’s significant risk management and compliance gaps. Global regulators have responded by building resiliency in financial institutions via structural reform regulations.

GSR is by no means complete—it continues at a rapid pace. In the end, GSR could result in a new financial services landscape, meaning institutions may have their hands full as they continue to build their post-crisis business models.

To assess the shape of these business models and understand how reform is playing out, Accenture surveyed 131 banking, insurance and capital markets institutions globally. The results, captured in Accenture’s 2015 Global Structural Reform Study, confirm institutions are indeed responding to GSR, but their plans still appear focused on meeting regulatory demands alone, rather than the more strategic implications.

Key Findings

Our study of financial services institutions found significant investment in GSR as institutions organize their response to ever-changing regulations. More than half of those surveyed anticipate more than $100 million in technology spending and an additional $100 million in non-technology spending.

But there is more to the numbers. Our study found:

  • GSR is re-writing the financial services landscape.
    Given the relentless pace of reform, relying on traditional ways of working won’t be a viable option. Institutions will likely find themselves making hard choices about their post-crisis business model.

  • Investment is clear, but strategy less so.
    Institutions are investing in talent and technology as they organize their responses to the new regulations. But will that investment fully account for the strategic implications of GSR?

  • The strategic conundrum remains to be solved.
    Institutions cannot continue to solve for point regulations without considering other competing or complementary forces.


When it comes to GSR, financial institutions should monitor their compliance. But, given the complexity and the potential for continued change, compliance cannot be the end game. Some guiding principles could help institutions capture the strategic value of their GSR investment:

  • Organize a long-term response.
    Institutions should think end-to-end and be holistic in assessing impacts across the operating model to drive smart investments.

  • Unlock potential in a new ecosystem.
    To remain competitive, institutions should seize the potential for innovation and for improved financial performance provided by the new ecosystem.

  • Demonstrate value to key stakeholders.
    The value of GSR may only be realized if planning is effectively adopted throughout the business.

  • Reward bold, strategic thinking.
    Senior management may approach structural reform with bold, strategic thinking—the same thinking they use for other industry challenges—to remain competitive and viable for the long term.


Samantha Regan is a managing director in Accenture’s Finance & Risk Services. She has 17 years of global experience working with C-suite executives and their businesses in compliance and regulatory initiatives. Samantha is the North America lead for the Regulatory Remediation & Compliance Transformation group within Accenture’s Finance & Risk Services practice.

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Venetia Woo is a senior manager in Accenture’s Finance & Risk Services, and serves as the offerings lead for both Global Structural Reform and Prudential Standards. She has extensive experience in leading restructuring, M&A and joint ventures formation activities for financial institutions.

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Ben Shorten is a senior manager in Accenture’s Finance & Risk Services, and serves as the Strategy and Target Operating Model offering lead for Regulatory Remediation & Compliance Transformation in North America, offering extensive experience working with Tier I investment banks and leading retail banking institutions.

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Chris Beck is a manager in Accenture’s Finance & Risk Services. He specializes in strategy planning, surveillance, operational risk management and compliance risk management.

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