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Technology to power human advice – a glimpse behind the scenes

Digitalisation and innovative technologies are creating unprecedented disruption in the banking sector, empowering industry professionals and clients alike. How is Julius Baer approaching this topic? And which exciting projects are currently underway? Our Company Insights series offers you a glimpse behind the scenes.

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The ancient art of private banking is becoming part science too. While personal relationships remain the rock of excellent wealth management, we use digital technology to improve the banking experience for both clients and industry professionals. Which exciting projects are currently underway? Let’s take a glimpse behind the scenes.

Fast technology for fast trading
Besides experimenting with Chatbots and robotics (our robots handled tasks that would take their human peers 5’300 days to complete in 2020) to improve our efficiency, we use technology to help our clients navigate today’s unpredictable market environment. The secret ingredients? Big data and advanced analytics.

SPARK, our in-house built structured product optimisation engine, for example, harnesses big data and analytics. The latest add-on to the bank’s trading platform enables the construction and optimisation of tailor-made products from a wide universe of underlyings, industries, and markets. In only a matter of seconds, a factor-based investment algorithm whittles down millions of possible product combinations to match user-specific requirements.

Meet our FinTech-assistant
Our relationship managers have a digital assistant at their side that automates administration, helps them to navigate regulation and even suggests tailored investment ideas. Julius Baer’s Digital Advisory Suite (DiAS) takes care of the burden of bureaucracy required in wealth management today.

Complying with laws such as the European Union’s MiFID II directive or its Swiss equivalent, the Financial Services Act, can demand as much as a third of a relationship manager’s time. DiAS reclaims some of these hours to focus on what matters most: providing tailored advice to clients. Currently, DiAS is used by more than 1’300 relationship managers who trade more than CHF 4.9 billion a month through it.

From paper to online – creating the digital experience of the future
A number of teams within Julius Baer are also working on creating the digital client experience of the future. From e-Banking to e-Trading – online is the name of the game. But not only are e-signatures and video identification convenient, they also offer a greener alternative to printing and scanning documents.

And where would we be without our apps these days? The Julius Baer Investment Insights App enables clients and intermediaries to access Julius Baer research and investment publications on the go. After completing a one-time-onboarding process to ensure data security and compliance with regulatory guidelines, clients can also chat with their relationship managers via Whatsapp.

Collaborating through the cloud
Agility and DevOps (a set of practices that combines software development ‘Dev’ and IT operations ‘Ops’) have become increasingly important in today’s world. Both work methodologies minimise the time-to-market for digital innovations, challenging the best software engineers to come up with solutions centred around speed and client focus.

Since good software engineers require a state-of-the-art workplace and a flexible working model, Julius Baer collaborated with leading specialists in this realm to develop its own cloud framework. Think of it this way: it’s a highly secure, specialised environment to exchange assets needed by IT developers. Data security is constantly beeing screened and monitored. The initial pilot project supported a team of 40 developers, whereas today more than 900 users from across Julius Baer and 30 vendors collaborate in 60 projects. The number is growing continuously.

A ‘One-Stop-Shop’ for external asset managers
External asset managers operate in a highly regulated and fast-paced environment. Our Digital Intermediaries platform was designed to bring simplicity. It comprises a portfolio management tool, near real-time reporting, a direct link for order processing and a gateway to all services for Intermediaries. Its latest version is currently being rolled out in Asia.

Similarly, the new EPIC platform allows asset managers to efficiently rebalance all of their ‘actively managed certificate’ portfolios, while presenting other investment possibilities.

Constantly innovating – Julius Baer’s ‘Thinkathon’
All of these projects and initiatives would not be feasible if the corporate culture wouldn’t encourage out-of-the-box thinking. One recent example in this area is Julius Baer’s ‘Thinkathon’, which challenged teams around the globe to come up with fresh ideas. After two weeks of brainstorming, ideating, Think-A-Caffeeing, thought-partnering and presenting, the three winning teams were announced during a live awards ceremony webcast. But it wasn’t only about making it into the top three. All projects were assessed, mapped out, and – where applicable – merged or integrated into existing project streams.

The road ahead
Compared to 2019, investments in technology to power human advice are being increased by approximately 20% in 2020 and in 2021. The focus lies on further enhancing data and analytics as well as continuing to work on digital, product, front and agile transformation projects. Follow Julius Baer to stay up to date!

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