Digital innovation is not automatically associated with banking, yet the financial sector is underpinned by cybersecurity. Julius Baer has begun providing an outside-in look at how the private banks utilises digital innovation to create value beyond wealth.
For as long as banks have existed they’ve had to be at the forefront of security. Today’s increasingly online world means cybersecurity is part and parcel of finance. Julius Baer is utilising digital innovation to not only ensure client security, but also to improve client relationships and attract top talent.
Don’t judge a book by its cover: why IT professionals thrive in banking
Many companies are pushed to keep pace with IT development. But, when it comes to banking, digital and technological innovation are prioritised from a resource and management point of view given their inherent importance to the banking business model.
IT professionals such as Diana, who leads a team of software engineers and IT service owners in the Back Office Service Delivery unit, are often surprised to learn that working for a bank such as Julius Baer means creating and delivering first-in-class IT products and services in the context of ever-changing regulatory and client expectations.
In Diana’s case it was a love of Super Mario and other video games that sparked her interest in computing. The IT industry moves fast and Diana believes the Bank’s structure and agility gives an upper hand: “I think Julius Baer offers IT professionals more possibilities and capabilities compared to other financial institutions on the Swiss market. Why? Because it’s a fairly transparent and much leaner organisation. It’s invested a lot in technology and employee upskilling, certification and new ways of working. Our IT strategy reflects this and it differentiates us from peers and competitors.”
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A commitment to digital and technical innovation is one thing, but plans only become successful realities if the right talent can be secured. When Diana got her first computer in the 1990s, financial institutions were not hiring their IT staff via online games. Fast forward a couple of decades and this is now a reality at Julius Baer.
This April the Bank launched its customised video game ’Be Bär Challenge’ on Roblox, the world’s most widely played video game platform. Founded in 2004, it has 55 million daily active users, 9.6 million developers and an ever-growing number of games available for devices such as PC, Xbox and cell phones. Together with E-Sports and gaming experts, Julius Baer designed the video game to target current and future tech talent via this popular digital environment, making it the first bank to do so.
Offering more than just entertainment, the 3D world of Julius Baer takes places over four levels, small prizes can be won, and players must demonstrate logical and analytical thinking, creativity and speed. It also provides an insight into the benefits and opportunities of working at the Bank, such as an entrepreneurial environment, small teams that enable agile working and cutting-edge technology.
A collective effort is required as cybersecurity innovation pushes banking into a new era
As the huge number of Roblox users and programmers indicate, the online world is increasingly important and hard to ignore. This is something the entire corporate sector is adjusting to. In order to promote best-practice and innovative digital practices, Julius Baer participated in putting together the WEF’s Principles for Board Governance of Cyber Risk.
The ‘we’re in this together’ approach underpins Julius Baer’s reasons for sharing its cybersecurity know-how. Though it’s a topic that affects everyone in today’s digital world, cybersecurity is often left unaddressed because it is too abstract, intangible and cumbersome to deal with. Business leaders, owners or board members of small- and medium-sized enterprises are often unaware of potential threats and the impact a cyber-attack could have on their business.
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To dismiss cybersecurity as a threat and costly risk to manage is to ignore the current reality of banking. Private banking is now embracing cybersecurity as a strategic business enabler. This image transformation reflects the financial sector’s dedication to pushing technological innovation to seize digital opportunities. Focus areas for Julius Baer include: digital access and client experience, scalable tailoring and advice, and new business opportunities and digital innovation.
Engaging with clients on topics such as cybersecurity offers a personal avenue for relationship building with clients. As banks have always had to be leaders when it comes to security, they’ve had a ‘head start’ so to say in the area of cybersecurity. Julius Baer sees an opportunity to transfer its know-how and expertise in this area to its clients. As a partner for high and ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices and intermediaries, this is just one of the ways the leading Swiss wealth manager is committed to creating value beyond wealth.