In 2022, the corporate reputation of Finance companies saw many obstacles. The year started strong, with countries emerging from the pandemic and businesses grasping the opportunity. But with multiple crashes and headwinds caused by global instability, economic uncertainty and the rising tide of social issues, it became harder than ever for organizations to plot a course of growth and strong reputation.
Discourse around ESG became more nuanced and demanded greater action and accountability from businesses looking to pursue sustainability practices. A challenging macroeconomic climate prompted layoffs at firms of all sizes and multiple scandals in the crypto world caused further crashes.
The latest analysis from the Signal AI 500 highlights how companies adapted to the evolving landscape, who performed better than others and the major trends the Finance industry had to tackle.
View the full results of the Signal AI 500.
From the collapse of FTX Trading to scrutiny on ESG and sustainability, the Finance industry saw a great deal of negative moments in 2022. As economic challenges worsened towards the end of the year, the conversation turned to concerns about a recession and subsequent layoffs. Leading banks were met with scrutiny on ESG and Sustainability – some were even fined for misleading statements about green investments, while a senior executive at one firm was shown the door for saying climate risk had been “overstated”.
Large finance firms continued to build and adopt new technologies in 2022, with the pace of innovation showing no signs of slowing. Mastercard continued to push into crypto while Visa moved further into utilizing blockchain technology. The growth in Open Banking fueled further tech adoption, while advances in AI improved risk management and enabled more personalized products. As the metaverse continued to gain momentum, so did questions about finance in this new frontier, with HSBC setting up a virtual store in metaverse platform The Sandbox.
With the high-profile implosion of the FTX exchange, the plummeting value of cryptocurrency and a continued lack of regulatory oversight, it might be tempting to write off blockchain as a passing fad with its brightest days behind it. But while blockchain conversations in the crypto sector trended largely negative in Q4, other sectors in finance fared better. In particular, positive chatter around blockchain in the payment sector grew by double digits, while remaining steady in banking.
The major uptick in hiring seen at the beginning of year didn’t last long. With rising global instability and economic uncertainty, conversation quickly turned to a looming recession. This fueled waves of mass layoffs, corporate restructuring and hiring freezes. Leading investment banks reported plans to fire staff, with Goldman CEO David Solomon saying: “You have to assume that we have some bumpy times ahead.”