2015 was an interesting year by all accounts in the banking sector globally and in particular for M&A activity in the sector. Deal value was up significantly over the preceding year and while the level of activity was foreseen by many, the specific nature of what took placed varied over many expectations. The level of anticipated activity in parts of Asia was mixed with outward investment continuing to be robust but not perhaps at the level that some had anticipated as market signals in China in particular were largely negative after the midpoint of the year. In contrast, Japanese M&A activity in FS was even stronger than anticipated with key acquisitions such as RBS and GE highlighting the pattern. Surging interest in investment in fintech and alternative finance was higher than expected in 2015 by many and has raised questions of a bubble for the year ahead.
For our part we believe 2016 will see significant extension of many of these trends along with the addition of some level of retrenchment and consolidation in specific markets. It is doubtful whether we have reached the inflection point from bear to bull with the major European banks, but they are expected to progress further on the road to recovery in 2016. At the same time we expect the emergence of new patterns of behavior in key areas such as wealth management and global loan portfolios that promises to reach a much broader geographic base in the year ahead.
Overall the view from KPMG’s global network of deal savvy FS leaders is that 2016 will be a significant year of growth and opportunity in financial services and that the scope of the key trends has actually become more diverse than in years past. As a result our list grows from 10 to an even dozen in 2016 and consequently an even more valuable resource to FS executives needing to focus on making the right strategic choices for their own needs in a highly diversified but competitive global market.