E-sign on the Virtual Dotted Line: E-Signatures in Financial Services

April 30, 2001

Abstract

Boston, MA, USA and Atlanta, GA, USA   May 1, 2001

E-sign on the Virtual Dotted Line: Electronic Signatures and the Financial Services Industry   

Celent suggests the success of PKI-based certificates as the most commonly used form of e-signatures technology is by no means assured, especially in the B2C sector

In a new report entitled, "E-sign on the Virtual Dotted Line: Electronic Signatures and the Financial Services Industry," Celent Communications examines the market for all types of electronic signatures, including digital certificates, smart cards, biometrics, and digitally-captured signatures. While the promise of these technologies is impressive, a fair amount of hype has surrounded the e-security industry to date. At different times, each of these technologies was touted as the next best thing. 

The burgeoning e-commerce market has breathed new life into the e-security industry, necessitating a more secure method for doing business online. Since the B2B market deals with high-value transactions, the greatest potential for advanced e-signature technologies lies in their adoption by corporate clients. Celent anticipates that adoption by business clients will far exceed that of retail consumers. 

"In many countries, e-signatures do not have the force of law, which adds to the confusion," adds Neil Katkov, co-author of the report. "To date, European countries have made the most progress on this front, passing a number of technology-prescriptive laws to guide financial institutions and businesses alike. Therefore, we expect Europe to lead the way in e-signatures adoption. The efforts in France and Germany will further benefit from the familiarity, and extensive use, of smart cards as a secure access device."

"A number of significant barriers to the adoption of advanced security mechanisms still remain," comments Meredith Hickman, co-author of the report. "Advanced e-signature technologies tend to be complex and expensive to deploy and support. Plus, there are an excessive number of technology providers competing in the space offering a dizzying array of solution pieces. This has led to a fragmented marketplace with few industry-wide standards to follow."

The report examines the likely impact of e-signatures technology in various financial services sectors, including banks, brokerages, and insurance companies. Celent also analyzes adoption trends and spending plans as well as identifies which types of technologies are most likely to capture market share.

A Table of Contents for the report is available online.

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Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
mpace@celent.com
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
cwilliams@celent.com
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
ynagaoka@celent.com
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents

 

Boston, MA, USA and Atlanta, GA, USA   May 1, 2001

E-sign on the Virtual Dotted Line:  Electronic Signatures and the Financial Services Industry

Return to report abstract  

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

3

INTRODUCTION

5

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE OVERVIEW

7

 

Types of E-Signatures

7

 

Focus on Digital Signatures

8

 

PKI Encryption

11

 

Controlled Access Methods

12

 

Maintenance of Digital Certificates

13

 

PKI Issues

13

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE LAWS

15

 

United States: The Federal E-sign Act

15

 

European E-Signature Laws

18

 

E-signature Laws in Asia

20

IMPACT ON THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

22

 

Adoption Trends

22

 

Penetration of PKI-enabled solutions

25

 

Spending

26

CONCLUSIONS

28

 

        

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