The pace of digitalisation has increased rapidly in recent years, giving rise to developments which are exercising a considerable influence on our daily behaviour. The speed at which new digital developments are emerging seems to be getting faster and faster. Nonetheless, the topic of digitalisation is and remains a ‘black box’ and an abstract issue for many people outside the technology sector, as its benefits and implementation are often hard to grasp. In this article Julius Baer's Head of Business Transformation argues, that digitalisation can also result in tangible benefits for clients.
Digitalisation is not an end in itself. Rather, new approaches and technological possibilities help us to achieve direct or indirect client benefits. Digitalisation can create targeted added value on at least three levels:
- client experience
- operational efficiency
- adaptation of business models
Following decades of technological evolution, we are now facing a central acceleration point – a ‘triple tipping point’. This should not be referred to as a ‘turning point’, but rather as an acceleration phase. Three major developments are involved that have not coincided simultaneously in the last 30 years: cultural change, technological advancement and regulatory intentions.
Cultural change is progressing rapidly at varying rates, depending on the region of the world. Clients and their expectations are changing or have already changed. Europeans should not be under the illusion of being one step ahead. There are regions and cultures that could skip entire technology cycles and jump directly from ‘bartering’ to payment via mobile devices.
Technology has progressed further today than we dared to dream in the internet bubble at the turn of the millennium. In addition, technology and human intelligence are becoming ever more intertwined. Initial successes with artificial intelligence are also promising for the financial industry.
The regulator presents the financial industry with new challenges that can only be solved by the interaction between people and technology. These are not only well-known topics such as reporting according to MiFID II, FinSA, ‘KYC’ or ‘AML’, but also new topics that will arise in the future.
How does this affect me as an intermediary?
At Julius Baer, we follow and analyse these trends very closely. It is not our intention to respond to every hype. We focus on solutions with substance and relevance. In each case, we question in detail whether these solutions are sustainable for our clients and whether they generate added value.
- Technology supports you in focusing on your core competencies
Advice and support for your client requires time as well as the relevant information, both in the right form and immediately at hand. Used correctly, digitalisation or technology helps you to create this freedom. Time spent searching through files and folders will soon be no more, giving you extra time, which in turn creates more opportunities for you to focus on your client.
- Regulatory development: technology can help reduce complexity
One interesting trend in digitalisation lies with RegTech companies, who help us to simplify regulatory complexity. Particularly in cross-border banking, it is almost impossible to deal with guidelines and stumbling blocks without the appropriate tools. Digitalisation will help you as intermediaries, but also us as banks, to master the upcoming and future regulatory challenges such as MiFID II, FinSA, GDPR, etc., and to concentrate more on advising clients.
- Technology helps to offer additional services
With the invention of the iPhone, Apple has taken the client experience as well as expectations and requirements for new, digital services to another level. User experience is no longer an option, but a must. Used correctly, technology also helps us to develop new services. Digital networking will lead to better evaluation of data and to added value for the client. Interfaces (APIs) create further possibilities; thanks to these, we are already able to consolidate and aggregate client data and portfolios from various banks.
And more specifically?
We offer intermediaries a wide range of services in the fields of technology and digitalisation, tailored to the individual needs of intermediaries such as:
- state-of-the-art trading capabilities, from securities to complex derivative products
- insights and expert opinions from our specialists on the most established Portfolio Management Systems (PMS) in the market
- supply of portfolio data over a variety of electronic channels. This gives you the independence to choose the one that best fits your business.
Technology and digitalisation is neither a threat nor an end in itself, but will provide us and our clients with added value at various levels. So, let’s go for it together!
About the author
Christoph Hartgens is Head of Business Transformation at Julius Baer.