More than 50 delegates from various private banks as well as a handful of finance journalists in Switzerland trooped over last week for the conference organized by SAGE and WealthBriefing on the threats on Swiss banks by its Asian counterparts.
The Breakfast Briefing conference was held last 8th of February at the President Hotel in Geneva. The themes of the conference focused on Swiss threats from Asia as well as the domestic providers, compared the different models of management and operations, how client groups from across the world vary, the role of technology in facing the threats and opportunities, working with shifts in client groups, regulatory updates, Swiss focused opportunities, and the value of skilled people and quality resources.
Speakers at the conference were Ian Woodhouse, Director at PwC; Osmond Plummer, Swiss correspondent for WealthBriefing; Antoine Bordelais, CEO of Capital Private Wealth; Michel Longhini, Global Head of Private Banking at UBP, and Jean-Luc Freymond, CEO of SAGE.
Jean-Luc Freymond stressed on the importance of a banking technology that will attract Asian clients. JL Freymond explained that UHNWI in Asia, in general, are technologically savvy and are looking for systems that can offer them sophisticated products, and provide them quick and efficient access to markets. As such, Swiss banks have to be able to offer them new products in face of Asian competition. He also mentioned that technology for private banks, especially during this economic turmoil, has to combine industry standard allocation and optimization methods with a fat-tailed risk management technique to enhance the return whilst lowering the risk for its clients’portfolios.
He also emphasized the need for Swiss bankers to have more of an entrepreneurial spirit in the face of these challenging times to compete with Asian banks and save the Swiss private banking industry. An example he gave is that in the 80’s, when the watch industry was considered dead in Switzerland, an entrepreneur rose up and saved the Swiss watch industry.