Page 3 - Maerki Baumann & Co. AG | Journal
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Shaping change
Thanks to their adaptability and willingness to tackle fresh challenges, Swiss banks have reinforced their strong position in the global asset management
sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
Swiss banks have recognised the signs of the times in key future-ori- ented issues such as digitalisation and sustainability. Maerki Baumann has used the pandemic to prepare itself for the upcoming challenges.
Swiss banks are world leaders: more than a quarter of the private as- sets managed on a cross-border basis globally are entrusted to Swiss banks – more than any other financial centre. Together with the assets of Swiss clients, the total comes to an impressive CHF 3,700 billion. For centuries, wealthy cli- ents from all over the world have bene- fited from advantages of Switzerland’s stable political system, strong currency and high-quality advisory services.
While that top position is well-de- served, it could bring with it the temp- tation to rest on one’s laurels and carelessly squander the competitive advantages. Hard work is necessary to defend this leading edge, because there is pressure from all sides: new compet- itors such as innovative fintech compa- nies, plus well-established names from other sectors, are piling into the mar- ket. A steady stream of new regulatory requirements is driving up costs. And
digitalisation is bringing about a funda- mental change in business models.
“We may have experienced deep- rooted change over the last decade,” observes Maerki Baumann’s CEO Dr Stephan A. Zwahlen, “but the com- ing decade is likely to prove even more challenging.” Only those that show a highly agile response to changing cli- ent requirements and innovative tech- nologies will be able to hold their own against the competition.
The pandemic has been a massive source of invigoration in the banking sector. Many banks have used the pan- demic to step up the digitalisation of workflows and services. Discussions with clients increasingly take place via digital channels rather than in the more genteel atmosphere of the bank’s prem- ises. During the pandemic year, Maerki Baumann invested in expanding its IT infrastructure – for example by estab- lishing online identification, launching a mobile banking app and developing a video conferencing system.
According to a recent report by the Swiss Finance Institute (SFI) on the status of the digital transformation at banks in Switzerland and Europe,

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