Kochi: Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner, KPMG, one of the largest professional services company in the world, Friday said that given Kerala's high literacy rate and availability of training and development institutions in the state, it could emerge as a hub of talent for financial services.
Ramaswamy was speaking at a presentation on financial services that were part of the three-day Emerging Kerala-2012 investment meet here.
"There is a promise of enhanced financial activity, given the slew of investments in infrastructure, and in emerging sectors like IT/ITeS and food processing. Areas like microfinance, project finance, payment solutions (leveraging inward remittances) have great potential," Ramaswamy said.
"On the retail front, the Kerala customer is mature and one of the most informed in the country. There is a clear need to re-discover the customer and cater to his changing preferences," he added.
According to the KPMG partner, Kerala also has advantages that come with its tradition - it has been a powerhouse of financial services in the country, and is one of the "highest banked" states in the country.
"Kerala has been a trend-setter in financial services. It is one of few states to have achieved 100 percent targets on financial inclusion as set by the Reserve Bank of India," Ramaswamy said.
Drawing on data to drive home the point, Ramaswamy said that the state has a higher average monthly per capita expenditure - 10.3 percent on durable goods, compared to the all-India figure of 4.2 percent.
He said that in Kerala, 51.1 percent of households use banking services, as against the national average of 35.5 percent.
Ramaswamy added that much would depend on how effectively the financial institutions map attitudinal shifts in customers. He said that flexibility would be needed to tap opportunities, and apposite products and services would need to be designed and effectively delivered.