Page 5 - Maerki Baumann & Co. AG | Journal
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“We take decisions faster than others do”
Dr Stephan A. Zwahlen on client focus, cooperation with partners, and the mixed image of the banking sector.
Dr Zwahlen, how has the coronavirus pandemic affected private banking? In the first lockdown, digitalisa- tion was boosted. In the sec- ond lockdown, the focus was on the importance of personal contact. Clients and staff evidently missed personal interaction. That showed us the key role of our hybrid cli- ent relationship model, which focuses on making optimum use of digital potential while maintaining personal contact.
What are the biggest chal- lenges resulting from digitalisation? Integrating new technological capabilities such as artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain tech- nology is one of the principal challenges. They have the potential to bring about a fundamental change in how the sector works. I am not convinced that the big techno- logical innovations will come from within the banks. New fintech providers probably have the better chances here.
What does that mean for Maerki Baumann? We do not aspire to do everything ourselves. Rather, we have decided to use a cooperation model that promises a win- win situation. While we have
the necessary experience
and stability to gain clients’ trust, fintech companies
can provide us with some very attractive technological solutions. By cooperating with them, we can offer our clients access to innovative technolo- gies and additional investment solutions.
Does your bank have the necessary critical mass? In my view, Maerki Baumann’s size is not a hindrance; on the contrary, it is a key competi- tive advantage. We outsource highly standardised process to specialised partner firms. We are close to our clients, focus on their interests and take decisions faster than many competitors. What’s more, we can also excel in areas where larger competitors face dif- ficulties – for example in the small cap sector.
How is Maerki Baumann positioned in the structural transformation? Maerki Baumann is optimally posi- tioned for the future. We have the necessary experience of cooperation, the Syz family
is a stable shareholder with
a long-term horizon, and
we have highly committed employees and a corporate culture that embraces change.
We offer highly individual solutions and can also handle complex issues within a reasonable timescale. Our customers benefit from this.
The reputation of the financial service sector is not exactly untarnished. What is your perception of general attitudes? I never got the feeling that our sector was particularly popular. That is probably due to various scandals and excesses. The Swiss banks’ role in assisting the efficient implementation of the pandemic-related credit programmes has certainly helped to improve their rep- utation. Sadly, all the banks tend to be tarred with the same brush. And yet there are many small banks in Switzer- land that have a good under- standing of their business and serve their clients in a calm, matter-of-fact way.
Find out more in the video interview with
Dr Stephan A. Zwahlen (only available in German)
Dr Stephan A. Zwahlen
CEO Maerki Baumann & Co. AG

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