3 reasons why financial intermediaries are struggling to keep up in times of digital disruption

The amount of insurance and bank agencies in the Belgian market is steadily decreasing. Recent announcements by incumbents in the financial sector (ING, AXA, P&V, Crelan, …) indicate that the consolidation wave might even accelerate in the years to come (following the trend that our neighbouring countries have set years ago). However, there is still a future for the brick channel, but only for those agents that have a clear vision on how to remain relevant in the world that has changed…


Digitalization in financial services has been going on for some time and recently has caught the big crowd’s attention through announcements of leading players such as ING, AXA, P&V, Crelan and others… Branch visits have drastically decreased and customer expectations have changed, based on experiences with digitally savvy innovators in other sectors (Bol.com, Coolblue, Amazon,…). Many financial intermediaries are struggling to find their place in this changing world.

Relevance is Key

Let it be clear that there is (and will be for a long time) still an important role for intermediaries, on one condition: Intermediaries need to be relevant for their customers. Most agents however never had to ask themselves questions of relevance in the past. Commercially strong agencies that serviced their clients well have been successful. Today the game has changed, and so have the success factors of financial intermediaries.

A clear vision for the future along with a strategic plan on how to get there are part of the toolkit of tomorrow’s successful entrepreneurial intermediaries.

Three reasons why intermediaries struggle to keep up in times of digital disruption

  1. Intermediaries have never learned to ask themselves what their role will be in the future and how they will remain relevant. In a stable environment (before the digital revolution) many intermediaries had one focus: commercial targets.
  2. Many Intermediaries lack a clear vision. They haven’t written down which direction they want to go and what (relevant) role they will fulfil in 2-4 years.
  3. Most intermediaries lack a strategic plan. Although most intermediaries do have a tactical plan (focussed on the realisation of commercial targets), very few have a strategic plan (How will they realize their vision?).

Vision and strategic planning

More and more insurers and banks expect their branches to think like entrepreneurs, and rightly so. This means guidance is required for many intermediaries. While many entrepreneurs are already familiar with an annual strategic planning exercise, this is not the case for a lot of financial intermediaries.

A clear vision for the future along with a strategic plan on how to get there (annual strategic planning), are part of the toolkit of tomorrow’s successful entrepreneurial intermediaries.

  • Roberto Carlos Montoya

    Dear Sir/Madam,

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    Email: robmontoya.bgbroker@gmail.com
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