While PSD2 is yet to come into full effect, more and more financial institutions are embracing ecosystem strategies, – the concept of opening to broader collaboration to produce stronger end user value, and earnings – which may be opening up a new chapter of globalization.

By a logical fallacy, we tend to overestimate the actual globalization that has occurred. For example, according to a study done a few years ago, just 2% of students are at universities outside their home countries and only 7% of directors of S&P 500 companies are foreigners. It’s similar when looking at the financial industry, where less than 20% of venture capital is invested outside the fund’s home country and only one fifth of the shares traded on the stock market are owned by foreign investors.

Globalization: reality vs perception
Source: Harvard Business Review – Globalization in the World We Live in Now: World 3.0 – https://hbr.org/2011/05/globalization-in-the-world-we

What we see happening with ecosystem strategies, is that financial institutions are positioning themselves as enablers for new services online. Despite financial institutions often acting locally, this opens up a very interesting paradigm shift, where the open platform of the Internet is in fact global.

As an example, a mutualized bank with a domestic mandate can be seen as having business requests and generating demand from the international market, having to address questions they have not had to so broadly deal with previously. This leads to an interesting question of whether or not this new online business segment is actually ‘international trade’ as such, and where it may fall into the groups’ operational structure.

Embracing the global nature of the Internet and of ecosystem strategies is another thing entirely and purposely seeking the catalytic effect of an open platform, can indeed be seen to increase shareholder earnings when successfully executed. The adage of a smaller slice of a bigger pie rings true, with the large and increasingly connected global financial market.

But being a catalyst leads to also new opportunities, where participants in the global economy can represent a far broader segment of businesses, such as financial services applications being embedded into e-commerce stores as point of purchase financing. The best part is, this type of ‘expansion’ can happen with clear positioning organically and opportunities can seek themselves to the open platform. For validation and especially in an often risk-averse environment, this type of externalized R&D function may prove invaluable, if of course, the organization only listens.

When we look at the future of where open banking, PSD2 and GDPR play a role, we can clearly see a more specialized, connected and end user value-driven platform. The question is therefore not whether or not this platform takes place, but more who is there to embrace it.