How Can Private Banks Strive in a Digital World

The emergence of new technologies is having a major impact on the Financial sector. A few days ago, Andreessen Horowitz announced an investment of 58M USD in the popular transfer platform, Transferwise . Just a few hours ago, Number26 launched what is supposed to be the best banking experience of the 21st century . On a daily basis, we see new players coming up with blasting technologies to change the Financial world. But despite all these amazing newcomers, I always wondered…how the Private Banks are coping with these changes?Clients are getting more educated than before, having a strong desire to be involved in their investment decisions with an increased level of security, so how do Private Bank match their demands? Chappuis Halder & Cie – a consulting firm dedicated to the Financial Sector with offices in Geneva, New York and Singapore to name a few – has published a great presentation on the rising importance of Digital in Private Banking ; see below a few key points. “Leverage on Technology enablers to keep ahead of the Game” For more than a decade, smartphones and tablets have considerably changed the way we communicate and consume products and services. No matter where we are or what time is it, the world is ours at a finger touch. E-glasses, connected watches and – in a not so distant future – biotechnological devices will have an even stronger impact. All 24/7 connected, these devices collect a massive amount of data helping marketers to better understand how we consume products in order to better address our needs. Just like any retail banks, Private Banks have a great card to play bringing better services and relations to their customers. Just like any business, innovation rather than improvement, is the key! “Borrow ideas from accross the world to trigger innovation” KickStarter (a popular crowd funding platform), Mint (personal finance management) and eToro (Forex trading platform where users can follow the best traders’ move) are some of the most famous startups connecting the greatness of the internet to the financial world. Besides, we see an increasing number of industries being shaken by our usages of new technologies; AirBnB provides a great alternative to hotels and Uber brings taxi to the 21st century. Innovation is all around and successful Private Banks, instead of improving their current business model, will completely re-think it as well as their client’s relationship (from product-centric to client-centric). “Focus on uses, get into the life of the users” In October 2013, PwC published an amazing paper on how Financial Institutions can leverage of the power of Big Data . Big data is indeed a gold mine for all Financial players; greater focus on customer centricity, improved customer risk analysis, higher customer retention, improved ability to introduce new products and services, and so much more! Despite big data, it is of a major importance to carefully keep track on how the usages of some services are being changed by the internet; not only it can give you ideas for innovation, but it tells you a lot on what people are expecting in terms of relations. More educated than ever, an increasing number of clients want to have a direct control over their investments, live updates with offers and propositions dedicated to their own lifestyle. “Don’t think only about Finance, user’s life is much bigger!” My sales mentor, David Masover , taught me one thing “Don’t put the light on you, but on your lead”. Because Trust is the key for any business relation, it is of a major importance to constantly focus on how client’s are living day by day, what are their problems, their challenges and more. A successful entrepreneur, investing in different assets, might probably be interested in privileged investments into carefully selected startups. Instead of focusing only in Finance, be a business partner of your client to help him in all his activities.