According to FIS’s Global Innovation Report, 47% of UK CEOs are concerned about financial and strategic risks, notably in fintech and retail.

Due to the challenging global economy, many people think that downturns would never end. Financial services technology company FIS looks at how CEOs are responding and innovating in the face of severe uncertainty in new research.

In order to find out what their top areas of innovation for the upcoming year are, the FIS Global Innovation Report polled senior executives and c-suite executives worldwide in both financial services (banks, insurers, capital markets firms, and fintechs) and non-financial industries (technology, retail, energy and utilities, healthcare, and others).

Financial risk appeared as the main issue for 62 percent of respondents, followed by strategic risk (50 percent), with nearly half of business leaders and executives in the UK stating that they face more risk currently than in the past (47 percent). Risk appears to be a major issue for leaders in the retail and fintech industries, with 70% of UK fintech executives and 80% of UK retailers expressing concern.

Most business executives have resisted staying stationary in spite of rising economic risk and uncertainty. In the UK, 52% of leaders are actively implementing new technologies, whereas 50% are handling risk by delegating tasks to current employees.

In fact, generative AI has the ability to allay worries for a lot of UK leaders, as evidenced by the fact that 60% of those that have already embraced the technology have stated that they intend to boost expenditure on it in the upcoming year, according to FIS.

Moreover, 48% of respondents cited growing competition as the main justification for raising generative AI expenditures.

Global economy

AI “may change the course of the UK economy”

According to the FIS report, 38% of UK executives think innovation is highly important for risk management, which explains why AI spending and adoption have surged despite businesses facing more financial strain.

Indeed, 74% of UK CEOs stated they view AI as a risk mitigation tool, and 69% of them felt the same way about generative AI.

The results were presented by Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly, SVP of banking and payments in Europe at FIS. She clarified: “The risks presented by the present difficult economic environment are understandably unsettling to UK business leaders, as supply chain disruptions, high interest rates, and skills shortages have increased performance pressure.”

However, there are encouraging signals as business leaders look to cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence to increase output. Although generative AI in particular has received a lot of attention, the Global Innovation Report shows that it has genuine applications, and executives strongly believe that it will make them more competitive.

“If the technology is used wisely, it could revolutionize the UK economy, which has been struggling with slow growth.”

It appears that organizations in the UK at all levels have been touched by this mindset. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled a new AI sandbox in March 2023 with the goal of accelerating AI research. Participants will have access to millions of pounds in prize money over the course of the following ten years.

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