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Transforming wealth management

To guide its digital transformation, UBS Wealth Management COO Dirk Klee says the bank has prioritized the following digitalization-related themes. They are an indication of where UBS sees important future trends.

  • Privacy. “We believe people will become more aware of the value of their data and want to protect and secure it. Wealth managers are natural partners to secure client’s financial and, increasingly, non-financial data.”
  • Self-fitting products. “We believe that in the future clients will no longer look for products, products will find clients based on their social profile, preferences and historic data.”
  • Wealth assistant. “We will see intelligent robots able to fully and interactively meet the wealth needs of clients, combining such developments as augmented reality, voice recognition and big data.”
  • Decomposed wealth management. “In the future clients will assemble their own wealth services by pulling together the best solutions from the best providers. We want to help them navigate those choices.”

On the level

If there is one thing that banks are learning from their technology peers, it is how to innovate. At the heart of innovation lies one simple concept: trial and error. UBS has been embracing that approach by opening or joining a number of innovation labs around the world. In April 2015, the bank announced that it was opening one such lab in London at the fabled Level39 incubator, Europe’s largest technology accelerator for financial, cyber, retail and smart cities technologies. UBS has opened labs in other locations as well, including Zurich and Singapore, and is continuing to expand. The labs serve as a way to collaborate with the larger Fintech community, generate ideas, share inspirations, and just try things out. While at Level39 UBS will above all be looking at blockchain technologies, the labs are designed to foster innovation across all areas of the bank

Chain gang

If there was a buzzword hit parade for Fintech, then blockchain would be at the top of the charts right now. And with good reason. The blockchain has the potential to disrupt banking in a very fundamental way. Usually associated with bitcoin, blockchain is important not for its application in cryptocurrencies, but because it enables the creation of distributed ledgers. These are self-verifying records of transactions that are public, tamper proof, and require no third party to maintain. As a great deal of banking ultimately boils down to keeping just such lists of value, it could potentially disrupt large parts of the transaction side of financial services. Nor is it applicable to just banking. The blockchain can potentially be used in just about any situation where two or more parties need to maintain a record of a transaction. Whether this potential will ever become a reality is still an open question, but many believe the possibilities are almost limitless. 

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