LONDON - 91% of fintech-focused investors and 94% of banks and financial institutions are planning two or more fintech acquisitions in the next 12 months, according to a new survey by Reed Smith and Mergermarket.

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The report, which features interviews with 100 corporate senior executives (CEO, CIO, Director of Strategy) globally, highlights the increasing importance of the fintech M&A market.

“There isn’t a significant financial services institution that isn’t already either a consumer or developer of fintech,” said Herb Kozlov, a partner at Reed Smith. “I think it’s on the radar of every major institution because they’re at a competitive disadvantage if they’re not as well positioned as their competitors to adopt new technologies.”

Key drivers for fintech investment identified by respondents included the need for enhanced compliance and reporting functionality, the need to upgrade legacy IT systems, and improved customer outreach through digital/mobile.

Maria Earley, a partner at Reed Smith, added: “There has been a lot of adoption of machine learning and AI in the investment and payment spaces. I think that payments are really moving to machine learning as well as blockchain. Technologies that are moving forward are then being gobbled up by the bigger institutions.”