Teaching Self-Disruption to Dinosaurs: 4 Questions a Bank Must Ask Itself

Financial Services | Insight | Published 23. Feb. 16

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Incumbents can learn from pretenders. Ashley Latham, CIO of Saxo Bank, gives his thoughts on how traditional banks can evolve and learn the game of disruptors.

By Susanna Bell

Ashley Latham does not believe banks need to completely reinvent themselves, or that it would even be possible. “So this is what I was yesterday and this is what I’m like today, and now I’m totally different…” The secret to disruption is not doing something differently than heretofore and believing you are now different. Instead, banks must ask themselves the following 4 questions:

1) “Do I need to change?” Openness to disruption is key. The very first step is to stop fighting back and accept the need for change. “If you don’t admit that, then nothing else is going to happen.”

2) “Who is my customer?” Banks must constantly define and redefine for themselves exactly who it is they serve and wish to serve.

3) “What does my customer need?” This is a question that needs to be asked over and over again. “The answer to that question will keep on changing.”

4) “What do I need to give my customer?” The answer to this question also keeps changing, and needs constant re-evaluation. “And if you are willing to take that changing answer and applying it back, you too can change so that you can be the answer to your question. Then I think that is how you disrupt yourself.”

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Saxo Bank is a Denmark-based investment bank that specializes in online trading and investment on global financial markets.

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