Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Risks in the Swiss Financial Center" organized by Swiss Finance Institute, Panelists: Oswald Gruebel, Daniel Zuberbühler and Prof. Dr. Martin Janssen

Around thousand participant wanted to see what Ossi Gruebel, Prof. Martin Janssen and Daniel Zuberbuehler had to say about risks in the Swsiss Financial Center. They have not been disappointed. A number of strong statements were made by all panelists. It has been both substantial and funny. In my blog post I list my favorite statements from the panelist occasionally accompanied with my own comments.   

SFI has made an excellent choice with the panelist. Although it was a small panel it united a huge expertise and experience. Ossi was brilliant as almost always and Daniel Zuberbuehler was better than I expected. Prof. Martin Janssen did a great job as moderator. He involved the former regulator and the former (and current) trader in a optimal way in the discussion.


Martin Janssen, sees 4 key risks for the Swiss Financial Center:
  • Legislation of Swiss Government
  • Regulation by FINMA
  • Swiss National Bank
  • Behavior of banks
from presentation Prof. Dr. Martin Janssen

"Risk is life, no risk is death!" Gruebel

"The leverage of banks was by far to high" Gruebel

"Today one believes only no risk is a good risk" Gruebel

"If you do not take risks you will get nowhere. Take risks! Risk is a part of our life" Gruebel

My comment: In the past, sometimes to big risk was taken. Instead of learning and avoiding these risks and only these risks, we try to avoid every single type of risk and we don't see that exactly that is the biggest risk. Looking at the Swiss leaders in banking, Boris Collardi is one of the very few who has courage to go ahead and take risks and has a forward strategy. Sadly enough he is being criticized for his acquisition strategy permanently. That Boris is a risk taker might not surprise, with Ossi he head a great teacher. When it is about new models, new trends for instance Finance 2.0, it is even worse. There to a large extent we are still in the denial phase.

A short History of Banking

"Since computers did not exist, the ones who were most skilled in calculating and ready to take risks were successful " Gruebel

"Use of computer generated more volume, but lower margins" Gruebel

"Technology killed the banking secrecy" Gruebel
My comment: I fully agree but technology/fintech has a huge potential to now save Swiss Banking Industry

Legislation and Regulation

"We already had automatic information exchange in the past in Switzerland" Gruebel
My comment: He was referring to the stolen and sold CD's ;-)

"New laws are always a source of risk, once implemented they will never ever be abolished" Gruebel

"It was said, Swiss Stamp Tax only to be in place for one year" Gruebel

"There is nothing politicians like better than saving and directing a bank"  Gruebel

"The politician who understood the Brunetti report, would have a good starting point to work from" Zuberbuehler

"FIDLEG is a failure" Zuberbuehler
My comment: It could be that Zuberbuehler said it in a bid less direct way, but that is the conclusion of his speech.

"We should focus on building national alternatives instead of re-engineering of existing Swiss laws"  Zuberbuehler
My comment: It is a kind of scary that even a former regulator has better ideas than Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf

My comment: An important conclusion from these statements is that most politicians do not really understand what is going on and how banking works. I agree on that. It as a complex field and there are only a very few politicians who understand it and take some actions which make sens. As an example, politicians discussions and statements on the gold initiative and most lately on the EUR/CHF minimum rate often were scary. But here comes the but! For this situation bankers have their blame too! The could have gone or above all could go into politics and make a change but widely the do not. When I asked Joe Ackermann, who also believes that more top bankers should be active in politics, what his concrete actions were or will be, I did not get a clear answer.  

On printing Money, the Swiss National Bank and Currencies

"You can't create a state fund with printed money and buy other countries assets. The will never ever accept this. Else Simbabwe would do it" Gruebel

My comment: This is idea was brought up in the press. I agree with Gruebel. Of course a country can have a state fund which invests in assets around the world such as Norway for example, but they get their money form oil exports and do not print it.

"The more we adapt to other countries the the weaker the Euro will become" Gruebel

"The Euro Minimum Rate has been a political decisions" Gruebel
My comment: I do share Gruebels opinion. It were the big exporters who influenced the SNB to decide to have a minimum rate and also the decision of not maintaining the minimum rate was influenced by the political environment, among others. 

"Quantitative easing will not work in Europe. We are no quantitative easing people" Gruebel

On current Situation and the Future of Swiss Banking

"We killed what we built for the last 40 years and think it is better, in our days the credo is only no risk is a good risk" Gruebel

"We should not forget, we are not the best bankers of the world, we are only among the best bankers of the world" Gruebel

"It also goes in banking, it is worthwhile to be different, with doing the same as all others one does not make money, one will not be successful" Janssen

Last but not least I asked Oswald Gruebel: "Although technology killed the Swiss banking secrecy, could not not now technology / fintech be the one that saves the Swiss Banking industry and what would you do if you would found a new bank from scratch?"

Although I have the biggest respect for Ossi Gruebel and find him a great visionary I did not expect this answer.

"Technology/fintech will kill old structures and old business and create new ones. Most have not understood that yet. Retail banking is better in Africa than in Switzerland because of technology. They did not have anything so they were not held back. Here we have our old systems who still have to be written off. Therefore important actions are not taken." Gruebel

Ossi did not answer in detail on his strategy if he was founding a new bank from scratch. It seemed he really  does not feel to found a new bank from scratch at all ... at least not together with the other panelists;-))). It is pretty obvious to me though, if he did, he would opt for digitization!

Link to Swiss Finance Insitute:


Monday, January 19, 2015

Finance 2.0: Die Zürcher Kantonalbank ist zurück auf Twitter! Funktioniert es diesmal?

ZKB ist als @zkb_ch zurück auf Twitter.  Der erste Twitterversuch, der im 2013 beendet wurde, war so zurückhaltend, dass ich mich nicht mal daran erinnern kann. Ich werde in ein paar Blogposts über die aktuellen ZKB Twitteraktivitäten schreiben.

Seit letzter Woche ist die Zürcher Kantonalbank zurück auf Twitter. Gemäss ZKB Twitterfeedback diesmal auch mit einer Strategie. Ich bin gespannt wie diese Strategie funktioniert. Im Vergleich zu einer  Einzelperson, hat eine Bank in der Grösse einer ZKB zum aktuellen Zeitpunkt, nicht die Möglichkeit ein bisschen reinzuschauen und zu sehen was passiert. Sie sollte sich im Speziellen bereits überlegen, welche Reaktionen zu erwarten sind und wie sie am besten darauf reagieren will. Klar wird der neue Auftritt von der Twittercommunity kritisch begutachtet und der eine oder andere kritische Tweet ist zu erwarten. Mit einer guten Reaktion, kann viel Goodwill gewonnen werden. Gar nicht zu antworten würde ein schlechtes Bild abgeben.


Es scheint, dass sich hier die ZKB vorgenommen hat es diesmal besser zu machen. Auf Komplimente und auf kritische Tweets  hat sie innerhalb Tagesfrist reagiert. Auf genau solche Tweets sollte man auch reagieren, falls sie im Fall des kritischen Feedbacks konstruktiv sind.


Aus meiner Sicht werden #Hashtags vielfach zu wenig oder falsch verwendet.  Die ZKB scheint es hier besser  machen zu wollen. So haben sie den Hashtag #zkb_ch bereits im Twittehintergrundbild  aufgeführt.  Leider ist der Nutzen dieses Hashtags gering. Wer wissen will was die ZKB tweetet folgt der ZKB direkt und nicht über einen allgemeinen Hashtag. Wer zudem über Twitter nach zkb_ch sucht sieht alle Twitterkommentare, welche @zkb_ch enthalten. Wird eine Firma in einem Tweet erwähnt, verwendet man in der Regel den Twitternamen und nicht einen Hashtag. Sinnvoll wären Hashtags wie #zkbnews, #zkbinvest, #zkbhelp, #zkbdigital etc. und natürlich eventspezifische Hashtags.

Vorschlag Twitteraktivitäten für die ZKB für diese Woche.

Euer Leiter Strategie, spricht am Dienstag 20.1.2015 zu „Strategie Digital Banking der Zürcher Kantonalbank: Erfolgsfaktoren für eine erfolgreiche Transformation“. Nutzt diese Möglichkeit. Tweetet von diesem Anlass, von Eurem Leiter Strategie aber auch von den anderen Vorträgen. Verwendet den Veranstaltungshashtag. Falls es keinen gibt, stellt sicher, dass einer sichtbar kommuniziert wird.

Social Media für Fortgeschrittene

Macht einen Blogbeitrag zum Event vom 20.1.2015 „Strategie Digital Banking der Zürcher Kantonalbank: bzw. lasst Euren Leiter Strategie einen Blogbeitrag machen zum Gesagten. Recycling nenne ich das. Den Aufwand für die Vorbereitung hat er bzw. seine Assistenz sowieso. Nutz diese weitere SoMe Aktivität ohne grossen Zusatzaufwand. Das Top Management der Swisscanto kann weiterhelfen. Die haben bereits Erfahrung.

In diesem Sinne, go for it, zeigt, dass Ihrs könnt!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Finance 2.0: Eine Studentin hat mich im Rahmen ihrer Bachelorarbeit zu Social Media im Banking befragt

Im Rahmen ihrer Bachelorarbeit untersucht diese Studentin, den Einsatz von Social Media im Banking. Sie hat verschiedene Banken gefunden, die Social Media bisher noch gar nicht einsetzen. Entsprechend wollte sie wissen, wie denn die Zukunft für diese Banken aussehe und micht generell zu Chancen und Zukunft von Social Media im Banking befragt. Hier meine Anwort. 

Zuerst ist es mal wichtig das Big Pic zu sehen und Social Media nicht zu separieren. Finance 2.0 ist der Begriff, der mir am besten gefällt. Twitter, Facebook und die übrigen Social Media, Enterprise Solutions, Blogs, Apps, Gamification, Cloud, Big Data usw. sind als Ganzes zu sehen. Übergeordnet ist das Wort sozial. Es geht in erster Linie um Interaktion, um Austausch, darum Kundenbedürfnisse zu erkennen und zu befriedigen. Ist das nicht erkannt und das ist es wohl von keinem Top Management einer Schweizer Bank, kann man viel Geld investieren und es bringt relativ wenig. Auch geht es darum top down eine Social Media, eine Finance 2.0 Kultur zu schaffen. Das braucht alles Zeit. Es ist genau dieses langfristige Denken, wie es Robert Holzach gem. seiner Biographie so schön erwähnt hat, welches fehlt. Man versucht jetzt Business Cases zu erstellen, die sich irgendwie kurz bis mittelfristig rechnen. Das führt dazu, dass man nicht das langfristig Richtige macht, sondern eben jenes wo man irgendeinen Ertrag rechnen kann.

Die Banken, im Speziellen die kleinen Banken, haben das Problem, dass die Margen sinken, die Kosten steigen und die Offshore Kunden abwandern. Aus Kostengründen können sie in entfernten Ländern, den BRICS z.B. nicht onshore sein und die Kundengewinnung ist so schwierig. Sie ersticken in Compliance. Es fehlt an Sympathie und an Vertrauen bei Kunden und potenziellen Kunden. Hierfür bietet Social Media Lösungsmöglichkeiten, für tiefere Kosten, bessere Kundenbeziehung, weniger Papierkrieg und um Kunden zu erreichen, die man mit herkömmlichen Mitteln nicht erreicht. Es geht nicht schnell und es ist nicht einfach, nur gross andere Optionen haben die kleineren Banken nicht. Den kleinen Banken empfehle ich ein Schritt für Schritt Vorgehen. Es muss nicht zwingend viel Geld kosten.

Bankgeheimnis und Compliance macht Social Media Aktivitäten nicht unbedingt einfach, Lösungen können aber gefunden werden wenn man will. Eine zentrale Schwierigkeit ist, dass die Leute, die Social Media vorantreiben müssten z.T. genau die sind, die sich vor ein paar Jahren noch strikt geweigert haben z.B. ein Facebook Profil zu eröffnen. Es ist etwa so wie wen man den Leiter Marketing morgen zum Börsenhändler machen würde. Er wäre völlig verunsichert und hätte keine Ahnung was er machen soll. Um an der Börse erfolgreich zu werden, muss man eigene Erfahrung sammeln. Genau dies gilt auch für Social Media. Hier ist das Risiko für die Banken, die den Zug verpassen. Es gibt kein fix fertiges Modell, es muss für die Bank angepasst sein. Entsprechend braucht es Erfahrung und eine andere Kultur. Dieser Aufbau braucht Zeit und hier ist das Risiko. Ein Twitteraccount ist schnell eröffnet und eine Finance 2.0 Software schnell eingekauft, aber das macht noch lange keine Digitale Bank.

 Zum Überleben ist der richtige Einsatz von Finance 2.0 inklusive Social Media zentral. Alle Banken, die überleben werden dies haben. Vor 10 Jahren gab es auch noch diverse Privatbanken, die kein E-Banking hatten und überzeugt waren, dass sie es nicht brauchen. Heute hat jede ein E-Banking. Wir werden aus meiner Sicht eine ähnliche Entwicklung sehen wie bei der Photographie. Kodak hat auch nicht damit gerechnet, dass ihr Business völlig zusammenbricht. Aktuell sehen wir nur die Spitze des Eisbergs. Wer sich nicht jetzt schon damit beschäftigt wird chancenlos sein, wenn dann der ganze Eisberg auftaucht.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Finance 2.0: Seven Finance 2.0 New Year Resolutions and a Trash Can for Sergio Ermotti, Urs Rohner, Boris Collardi, Martin Scholl and Zeno Staub

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post with seven proposals for Finance 2.0 new year resolutions for Swiss Banking CEO's. Since that would not have any effect at all, I decided to take it from online to offline. On 30th December I sent a card with these seven Finance 2.0 new year resolution to Ermotti, Rohner, Collardi, Scholl and Staub accompanied by a trash can for each, since they would trash it anyway.  But see the details below...

Card to Sergio Ermotti, Urs Rohner, Boris Collardi, Martin Scholl and Xeno Staub
Card to Sergio Ermotti, Urs Rohner, Boris Collardi, Martin Scholl and Zeno Staub

Text in English

Dear Mr .....

In case you have not yet found good new year resolutions, I would have some ideas for Finance 2.0 resolutions for 2015. 

Since you will trash my proposals with high probability anyway, allow me to include a trash can straight away. 


P.S:  However in case you should have a deeper interest for my proposals, you can get more details on my blog Finance 2.0 New Year Resolutions for Swiss Banking CEOs

New Year Resolutions
  • Open a Twitter Account and build a Community
  • Make Head of Digitization a Member of Management Committee
  • Have a Finance 2.0 Expert in your Board
  • Start to think in Processes for Finance 2.0 and not in Channels
  • Get Head of Compliance to have a Twitter Account as well
  • Train your Employees on Social Media and let them use these media
  • Be a Finance 2.0 Innovator and not a Follower

The Trash Can

On the trash can I sent them, I sticked the seven new year resolutions together with a picture for each

I did not receive feedback so far but I did not expected it either. The chances for a lasting impression might be a bid bigger though;-)

The Press

This information I passed on to the press as well, such as to NZZ, 20 Minuten, and Finews. I guess it has not been interesting enough for them or too low level.

Well let's see where it's gonna go! Not far I guess, but hey if I can tell them in two years "I TOLD YOU!!!" , then it has been already worth while ;-))

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Finance 2.0: Are Robert Holzach (Ex-President of UBS Board) and Hans Vontobel (Ex-President of Vontobel Board) the real Finance 2.0 Experts?

I am quite sure, that Robert Holzach and Hans Vontobel were/are no IT cracks. I cannot emphasis enough though that Finance 2.0 is not about IT in the first place but about social interaction and about delivering value to others. When I first started to talk to senior banking executives on Social Media and Finance 2.0 back in 2011, the first question always has been: “Yes, but how do we make money with it?” So, having a look at the recently published book on Robert Holzach and the latest interview of Hans Vontobel, it seems that these two Gentlemen have understood the true concept of Finance 2.0 much better than some of their successors 

Robert Holzach & Hans Vontobel the real Finance 2.0 Bankers?
Robert Holzach and Hans Vontobel the real Finance 2.0 Bankers?

It might sound a bit crazy to write that Robert Holzach and Hans Vontobel might have understood better what Finance 2.0 is all about, than the current banking industry leaders probably without even knowing this definition. But let’s have a look at these gentlemen's values and why exactly these values must be the drivers of Finance 2.0. Let’s go back to the past in order to build the Finance 2.0 future!

The Banker must serve the Client! (Robert Holzach)

What are the needs of clients and how to satisfy them is the first, the second and the third question and NOT what is in for me! When entering the Social Networks, when connecting with clients or potential clients through the number of possibilities Finance 2.0 is offering, exactly this must be the aim. What is bothering them, what could be their needs, what value can I provide to the audience and how can I satisfy their needs. If real needs are satisfied, money/profit will come along. The important point obviously is not to satisfy solely needs which are already covered by competitors for free.

A long term Approach is important (Robert Holzach)

As mentioned above, money/profit will come along, but it needs time. Expecting returns on ones Finance 2.0 activities in terms of money within a year’s time is not realistic. With such a short term approach a successful Finance 2.0 strategy is hardly possible. So, the short and medium term goals to valuate Finance 2.0 should be others than money. Short term it could be e.g. number of interactions of a relationship manager and his influence on online platforms. Medium term: client satisfaction, product ideas received via online channels and client retention. Then of course long term cost savings and profit should be an objective.

A Banking Executive should question his Activities and himself on a regular Base (Hans Vontobel)

In order to do this, an executive must get direct and unfiltered feedback from a number of sources, such as clients, potential clients, employees and other stakeholders. In the offline world this is difficult. Very often he is surrounded by Yes-Men, who do not dare to address critics. Also the offline contact with clients or potentials even other stakeholders are limited. Exactly these kind of feed-backs executives could and would get when they had a personal social media profile such as a Twitter account for example.

Dear banking CEO’s and top executives you do not have to listen to me, but please listen to these two very respected gentlemen Mr. Holzach and Mr. Vontobel. Please consider that also on Finance 2.0 you could learn from them and that you might need to go back to the past to build a successful Finance 2.0 future.