At the 2018 UBS International Banking Seminar, banking professionals, clients and experts from the fields of technology, psychology and human resources gathered together for a four-day workshop to reflect and discuss the future of banking in a digital world.

Rapid changes are happening before our very eyes.
Udo Jenner, Global Head Banks

From workforce trends and recruiting to networking and creating the perfect client experience, each participant was asked to consider the impact of digitalization and what it would take to transform and shape the way banks operate to attract and retain today’s digital savvy clients and professionals.

“Only by recognizing and embracing how and to what extent new technologies are disrupting how we live, how we do business and how we work, can we evolve with the rapid changes happening before our very eyes,” said Udo Jenner, Global Head Banks at UBS and host of this year’s seminar.

Know your client of the future

Over the last decade digital client interaction with banks increased substantially from below 20% to more than 75%. Clients today have an increasing affinity for technology and expect a fully personalized virtual experience with 24/7 services in a mobile environment.

Emerging fintech companies have been quick to understand the need for value creation, as new technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensor technologies offer new opportunities and thus, a cutting-edge financial services experience. To stay in the game, traditional banks must leverage their existing client franchise and use innovative technologies to succeed in a highly competitive environment.

Digitization is changing client behavior and impacting all banking services.
Christian Maehr, Manager Digitization and Client Experience Corporate and Institutional

Various technologies and new business models such as Real-time-Payments (RTP), Trade Finance on block chain, tokenized assets, AI augmented advisory and trading – to name a few – are in the early stages of development. It is therefore essential for the financial industry to take an active role in developing leading technologies.

As Christian Maehr, Manager Digitization and Client Experience at UBS, pointed out: “Client behavior is changing and in order to keep a competitive edge, we must know who our client of the future is and look after them.” 

There’s no going forward without the human factor

The big question is – will physical interaction and the human factor still be of value? Experts say this will still prevail. And the secret ingredient to tapping into the potential of the human element is client centricity. It’s about understanding clients and co-designing the future together to deliver value. As Wioletta Simonet, Design Thinking Lead at UBS, points out, the users of digital platforms, products and services are still humans. Accommodating human needs is a way to make sure the digital world supports users in the best possible way in their daily lives.

Client-centric banks will more likely stay profitable.
Wioletta Simonet, Design Thinking Lead

In an intensive workshop on Design Thinking. Wioletta Simonet created the essence of a Human Centered Design experience. She walked the participants through a series of exercises that took them out of their comfort zones and showed them how to embrace creativity to solve problems. By co-designing and validating solutions, participants learned how to deliver meaningful and useful client experiences that clients are willing to pay for.

“Being creative and in tune to what you feel will help you approach clients with empathy. It’s about seeing through their eyes to find out what their values are, what’s important to them and then, translating that into a delightful financial client experience. This, in turn, has the potential to increase the growth of your organization,” says Simonet.

“An estimated 175 to 200 billion USD is waiting to be made in revenue through client centricity*1,” explains Simonet. “Client-centric banks with the ability to convert human needs and emotions into a meaningful client experience will more likely be profitable.”

Wooing the workforce of the future

That the human element will stay relevant is good news for the upcoming workforce as well. While it is expected that 47 percent of occupations in advanced economies are at high risk of being automated in the next 20 years, estimates show that more than 250m new jobs net of automation could be created by rising incomes*2. In fact, a majority of the world’s youth believe that technology will bring more jobs, not less.

Never has there been a more significant demographic shift, nor so many technological changes at once.
Yves Berger, Global Head Talent & Performance Management

To attract and retain young talent, the industry must learn to evolve and adapt to new working models. Those now entering the workforce are tech savvy and expect instant feedback, a flexible, autonomous working environment and internal mobility opportunities that allows them to continually develop their skills. Moreover, they seek meaningful work in socially responsible companies. Banks that can tap into the human element and understand the individual needs of today’s young professionals will be more appealing to the upcoming future workforce.

“The future will not only be about using AI and big data technology to analyze customer needs,” says Yves Berger, Global Head Talent & Performance Management at UBS. “These technologies will also help us create digital HR tools to optimize hiring processes, for example, as well as develop optimized learning offerings that support ongoing employee development and prepare our workforce for a rapidly changing work environment.”

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