young woman in a virtual meeting

Being required to work remotely may have improved efficiency in the financial industry, according to a new survey from U.S. research firm Greenwich Associates.

The firm, which surveyed over 200 financial markets professionals (primarily in North America), reported that half of respondents said that the shift to working from home has enhanced efficiency by accelerating the use of digital tools for communication and collaboration.

The survey found that almost 80% of respondents said that technology innovations adopted in the past five years have “made markets better and more efficient.”

Greenwich reported that nearly 70% of buy-side respondents and 40% of sell-side respondents said this efficiency has accelerated in the past year due to remote working.

“Looking to the post-pandemic period, even bigger shares of market participants expect technology and automation to deliver more transparency, higher quality executions and lower prices for clients over the next three to five years,” said Kevin McPartland, head of research in Greenwich’s market structure and technology group, in a release.

The research firm also noted that the shift to remote working created significant compliance challenges for the financial industry.

“While most major regulators issued blanket forgiveness for communications monitoring lapses, recent releases reflect a tougher stance, and internal teams and third-party technology providers have been scrambling to expand communications channel monitoring and surveillance alert capabilities,” Greenwich said.

These compliance demands are pushing some firms to “gravitate toward technology solutions designed specifically for the financial market, as opposed to some of the more popular communication apps,” said Danielle Tierney, senior advisor at Greenwich, and co-author of the report.