The first event in the ‘Challenges for Bank Board Members’ online seminar series in 2022 took place on 20th January. Benoît Legrand (Former CEO, ING Ventures & Former Chief Innovation Officer, ING) and Álvaro Martín Enríquez (Global Head of Data Strategy, BBVA) debated around a hot topic: ‘Digitalisation as a way of business’.
Elena Carletti, Professor of Finance at Bocconi University and founding director of the Florence School of Banking and Finance, chaired the event, which included a Q&A session with a live participation of the audience.
Benoît Legrand introduced the webinar by defining digitalisation as an opportunity for banks to evolve, know their customers better, and gain a more advanced set of tools to control and manage risks. He then underlined that the transition towards digitalisation is not a new process, on the contrary banks started it already many years ago, by introducing the use of computers. This process does naturally bring some risks, which should be tackled by the management. In this respect, Mr Legrand stated that bank board members must ultimately decide whether to manage this ‘digitalisation risk’, or to avoid it, although this would not be the desirable option given the negative effects of ignoring these risks.
Álvaro Martín Enríquez focused on the importance of data and their potential. Indeed, with a well-functioning data pipeline, a bank has the chance to conduct their business better, hence obtaining a competitive advantage. To ensure reaching these positive results, technology robustness and agility are two fundamental elements, which bank board members should take into consideration in their decisions.
During the Q&A session, Elena Carletti steered the discussion on how to manage the digital transition and the risk that follows, and how boards can compensate with the possible lack of data competence within their boards, or more generally, within their institution.
You can find the recording of the webinar here.