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Agility is the way to match the tech giants

Tech giants and fintechs have raised the bar for digital client service. But agile transformation can allow banks to provide better-tailored solutions and products for intermediaries, freeing them to spend more time with their own clients.

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Meeting clients’ raised expectations

Why is agile transformation essential for banks and intermediaries? And how is it reshaping the industry?

We live in a world where tech giants and fintechs are raising clients’ expectations all the time. For example, Amazon teaches our clients to expect to click twice and they will get what they want. They ask, “why not banks?”. The simple answer is that banks are much more strictly regulated and can therefore hardly be compared. But this is of little interest to clients. They still expect us to keep up with Amazon and the others.

That’s why we need a cultural shift. Banks and financial intermediaries alike must change and adapt quickly with a more agile way of working. This includes, for example, re-thinking and streamlining processes, as well as developing tools that enable us to serve clients better. 

Agile transformation: Definition and overview

Agile transformation is the process of transitioning an entire organisation to a nimble approach, characterised as a network of teams operating in rapid learning decision-making and development cycles. The key benefits of agile transformation include better serving the interests of clients, significantly boosting efficiency, stronger communication, as well as faster product and service delivery.

What can intermediaries gain from agile transformation?

In today’s environment, it’s of utmost importance to spend as much time with clients as possible to provide insights and advice. At the same time, we need to meet regulators’ ever increasing anti-fraud and anti-money laundering requirements. But giving a great client experience while keeping the costs associated with processes in check is hard. This is where agile transformation comes in. It enables us at Julius Baer to build processes and smart tools in collaboration with clients and based on behavioural data: that results in a better experience for our intermediary clients alongside lower administration and compliance costs for us. It should also allow intermediaries to spend more time with their own clients.

What are some of Julius Baer’s initiatives?

Let’s take the relatively common occurrence of where transaction flows tell us that clients have become more or less aggressive in their investment approach. By using smart tools and algorithms that automatically detect a client’s changed behaviour, we can easily ask for verification and approval of such altered risk behaviour. This eliminates the manual, time-consuming supervision and sending of reports.

Another example involves the use of data pool analysis for tailoring products and services. At Julius Baer, our data pools cover over 10,000 different data points per client, which is considerably more than an intermediary is likely to capture in its data pool. By comparing this data in a similar setting, we can outline what works for other clients and what doesn’t.

What do you see as the key barriers to implementing agile transformation?

The key challenge of any transformation is achieving buy-in on the new processes and creating a culture change. This is where agile transformation is especially useful. We work with clients to tailor and brainstorm improved processes, aiming to reach a mutually beneficial equilibrium. 

Julius Baer’s motto is “big enough to matter, yet small enough to care”. What difference has your culture made to implementing agile transformation with clients?

Julius Baer is a people business. We have invested in our Intermediaries business and will continue to do so to ensure that our understanding of the clients, the markets, technologies and tools captures the ever-changing environment. 

Our culture also means that our services are tailored to the unique needs of each client. Some clients call every morning to discuss markets and top trading ideas. Others prefer not to be called, relying on our technology to operate self-sufficiently. So we have adapted our services to meet these diverse expectations. 

What are some of the key initiatives in this field that intermediaries can expect from Julius Baer? 

In the next few weeks, we will be launching an array of new products and services. They cover, for example, wealth planning and business building  from a technology point of view. These launches are the result of us discussing and co-creating new solutions and ideas with our diverse client base. As a result, we will free our clients to spend more value-adding time with their own customers.

Key takeaways

  • Banks and intermediaries need to adapt quickly to meet clients’ digital expectations which are increasingly set by tech giants and fintechs.
  • Agile ways of working enable Julius Baer to successfully deliver better-tailored, cost-effective products and services.
  • Julius Baer’s comprehensive set of products and services equips intermediaries to spend more value-added time with their clients, helps streamline their processes and minimises the associated costs.

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