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Digitisation

Digitisation

In today’s world, digital innovations are a prerequisite for ensuring Switzerland’s competitiveness – a fact that also applies to the financial sector. For the Swiss financial centre to maintain its leading international position, the framework conditions for technological innovations must be excellent in worldwide comparison. That is why digitisation is a core strategic topic for the Swiss Bankers Association.

The importance of “digitisation”

Digital innovations in the financial sector are part of a series of technology-driven changes taking place in various sectors: journalism, the hotel industry and transportation services have all been impacted by the technological and structural change seen in recent years. In the wake of these developments, new markets, products and services are emerging to the benefit of the customer. For existing market participants, the rules of the game are changing accordingly. 

Seizing opportunities

Digitisation poses a major challenge in particular for traditional banks, especially against the backdrop of narrowing margins. Moreover, new technologies make it easier for potential providers to enter the market, thus intensifying competition. This negatively impacts the profitability of the business models that have been in place to date.

In contrast, efficiency gains and new product offerings that are more attuned to customer needs are some of the positive effects of digitisation. They impact both front as well as back offices.

 

The Swiss banks have positioned themselves well in recent years in terms of digitisation. They offer a combination of new digital possibilities and the firmly-established strengths of “Swiss banking”, such as financial expertise, discretion and reliability. These are prerequisites for ensuring that Switzerland remains a leading financial centre in the future. The fact that Switzerland is currently one of the most important fintech locations in the world is one example that reflects the strength of the financial centre in the area of digitisation. 

The role of the Swiss Bankers Association

The Swiss Bankers Association actively contributes to shaping the framework conditions to facilitate digital innovation. An expert commission of the SBA is developing the foundations for the strategic and tactical positioning and opinion forming to this end. The SBA advocates for commensurate, principles-based regulation to ensure the continued competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre and its stakeholders. Its current key areas of focus are:

Digitalisation and Fintech

Digitalisation is posing challenges, but also benefitting Switzerland on many levels. This reality also applies in the financial sector. In order to ensure the Swiss financial centre remains attractive at the international level, the framework conditions must continue to be efficient and conducive to innovation. Digitalisation is therefore a core strategic issue for the Swiss Bankers Association.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain technology provides numerous opportunities for the finance industry. Promising pos-sibilities for the application of Blockchain technology exist both in the development of new business models as well as in achieving efficiency gains for existing activities.

Cloud computing – Swiss Cloud

Using cloud services increases the competitiveness of the banking sector. The cloud service pro-viders are in the starting blocks. To successfully migrate the banks’ IT to the cloud, a number of legal challenges must now be resolved.

Cybersecurity

Digitisation and the increasing dependence on information and communications technologies that comes with it make Switzerland increasingly vulnerable to outages, disruptions and the misuse of these technologies. Security measures must be introduced to ensure independence and security in the face of the new risks that are emerging in cyberspace. This is the only way to take full advantage of the opportunities arising from digitisation.

Electronic identity (e-ID)

As technological developments advance, an increasing number of business processes are being shifted to the digital world. However, the settlement of electronic transactions requires trust in the identity and authenticity of the counterpart. The electronic identity (e-ID) makes unequivocal and secure identification possible on the internet. It therefore forms the basis for the digitisation of society.

Open banking and standardised interfaces (APIs)

Open banking is an opportunity for the Swiss financial centre. Swiss financial institutions are in-novative and well equipped to meet the emerging needs of customers to the greatest extent pos-sible. Standardised interfaces make an important contribution to the efficient development of open banking services.

Regtech

Behind the buzzword RegTech (regulatory technology) lies enormous potential for innovative digital solutions in the area of regulation. In the highly-regulated financial sector, banks and other service providers are continuously confronted with increasing regulatory requirements, which go hand in hand with risk management and compliance expenses. A large part of these costs arises in the areas of “The cash handling and anti money laundering (AML) regulations” and “Foreign customers and tax compliance”.