Agility with Control
Our experience is that if you get the balance right between control and flexibility you can achieve substantial gains by introducing Agile approaches. Doing this in environments with strong regulation needs a delivery team that understands where requirements need to be fixed and where they can be flexed.
However tight the process, there's always room for Agility. In fact, we have found that having some rigid requirements can help to provide a central framework around which the more flexible elements can be built. The regulatory and compliance requirements are easy to prioritise as "Must Haves". Auditing requirements can even be considered as non-functional, and can be dealt with in a similar way to performance and availability requirements - essential to agree and specify in any technology development, Agile or otherwise.
How users access information, interpret Management Information, navigate through reporting and analytical screens for example, area all candidates for an Agile development approach. Key Agile principles such as time-boxing, not compromising quality, lean documentation and frequent exposure of the solution to the business, all help to expedite delivery, only deliver what is necessary, and overall, reduce the risk of project failure or overspend.
In an industry with an increased emphasis on regulation and an increasing number of new controls, Agile can provide the platform to both implement new rules quickly and enable your organisation to deliver new products and services to the market while others are slower to react using traditional approaches.