Commercial Partnerships - what can banks learn from the Roman Empire?


Ewen Fleming

Ewen Fleming

Partner - Financial Services Advisory


Partnerships are in vogue. Not so long ago, FinTech and InsurTech firms were thought to present an existential threat to traditional financial services providers and their market share. ‘Adapt or die’ became the mantra. Fast forward a few years and what have we learnt? In the main, both FinTech firms and incumbent financial institutions have realised that there is more to be gained by working collaboratively together than there is from competing aggressively. For example, RBS partnered with Starling to utilise their transaction infrastructure for their standalone bank, Bó.

Indeed, each has strengths or core capabilities to offer that the other wishes to access. The incumbents desire the innovative technology and service offerings that the nimble FinTech’s can develop at pace, whereas the FinTech’s desperately want access to the large customer base of the incumbents. The natural way to bridge the capability gaps for both parties is to consider developing some form of partnership or alliance.

However, partnerships can be very difficult to launch and make successful if a well thought through strategy and plan is not in place or followed.

The well-known phrase that ‘those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it’ should certainly be applied in the case of forming partnerships and alliances. These challenges are not new, from the current political challenges of the European Union and stretching further back to the Roman Empire.

This white paper will look at the the challenges facing modern financial institutions as they look to grow through partnerships and alliances, by exploring the key themes and applying the successes and failures which enabled the Roman Empire to expand from an Italian backwater in 753BC to the height of its power covering 5 million square kilometres in 117AD, 


If you want to discuss any aspect of creating strong and commercial partnerships or alliances then please get in touch with me, or Samuel Church.