ESG, Web3 & Embedded Finance Top Investing Priorities in Finance

According to a new report from FIS, C-suite executives plan to invest heavily in Web3, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) frameworks, and embedded finance in 2023. 

The report, called the 2023 Global Innovation Report, surveyed 2,000 executives from financial services and non-financial businesses about their top investment areas for this year. 

The survey found that 84% of respondents believe that ESG and embedded finance will have a significant or moderate impact on the financial technology industry in 2023. Other areas of investment include decentralized finance (82%), the metaverse (80%), and cryptocurrencies (77%).

The report also revealed that a majority of financial services firms in the United States (56%) believe that incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations can improve their competitiveness in the market. 

Furthermore, 60% of these firms are actively developing new products and services related to ESG. Additionally, a majority of financial services firms (56%) are investing in technology to enhance the reporting and disclosure of ESG information, providing clients with greater transparency into ESG scores and more detailed ESG ratings for assets and securities.

According to Himal Makwana, the global head of product strategy and web3 at FIS, businesses are looking for ways to survive an economic downturn by focusing on innovation and collaboration. Makwana stated, "As the possibility of a global economic slowdown looms, it is clear that achieving growth requires strong leadership, a culture of innovation, and the ability to anticipate and respond to consumer demand."

Makwana stated, "Our findings show that many executives see decentralized finance, web3 infrastructure, digital assets, and currencies as critical components of their long-term strategy, both from a defensive and offensive perspective, to help lead the way into this next phase of the digital revolution."

According to FIS's report, a lack of ecosystem services to support cryptocurrencies was cited as the biggest challenge by 29% of respondents. Other challenges included lack of interoperability between platforms (28%), and lack of clarity around regulations (26%), which were identified as key obstacles to wider adoption within their organizations.

In terms of embedded finance, the report found that 36% of financial services firms plan to invest heavily in developing embedded finance products within the next 12 months. Additionally, 59% of non-financial firms that expect embedded finance to have an impact on their business plan to increase their technology or research and development budget this year.

In related news, The Payments Association, an organization that promotes innovation and collaboration in the payments industry, has launched Project ESG.

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