Awards for Distinction 2017 – Best Private Bank – Tech Disruption





Ketan Samani

Digital Officer, UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific

“This is the 2nd year in a row that APB has recognized UBS CDO APAC for our tech disruption efforts, and we are proud, and humbled, by that. We’d like to thank APB for this honor – but more importantly, we are grateful for the recognition from our clients, colleagues and industry partners for what we do and what we are set on achieving. Our clients – and the ensuing client experience – continue to be at the heart of our offering and journey. That will not change. In addition, we continue to focus on innovative technology that will help us deliver the highest security standards, developing deep insights from data and to co-create better solutions for our clients and client advisers.”

Winners rationale

Technological trialling and testing of innovation is no stranger to the party for many private banks in Asia. Indeed, it is almost a hygiene factor to foment this process by developing, in-house, a fintech start-up experience. However, very few institutions have demonstrated a consistent commitment to genuine research and innovation – not to mention piloting as well as actively embracing new technologies.

UBS Wealth Management is demonstrably the proven exception. In 2017, the Swiss private bank continued to exhibit the power of its transformative thinking. In addition to screening a high volume of start-ups to generate a deck of quality ideas the bank was quick to ratify proof of concept and, hence, activate live production stages. A prime example of its ability to keep pace with the rapidly evolving fintech landscape in the region was its move to to develop a secure communication platform for the wealth manager’s client advisors and clients in June.

At the heart of the innovation is UBS EVOLVE, UBS Wealth Management’s digital hub based in Singapore. To cement its pole position, the bank opened the doors to its new digital hub in Hong Kong in 2017 to cater to its growing Greater China client base. Set up in the Kowloon office, UBS Wealth Management’s new digital hub is a platform allowing fintech companies to collaborate by sharing and exchanging ideas. The Swiss bank is also working with Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform (Hong Kong X), an organisation co-founded in July 2016 by Neil Shen, partner at tech start-up powerhouse Sequoia Capital.

UBS Wealth Management has particularly focused its time and efforts on ways it can harness big data and artificial intelligence technology to improve client experience, fortify the bank’s fraud detection processes and create efficiencies for the relationship manager.

Most impressively, and what has perhaps elicited a collective sigh of relief from the industry, is UBS Wealth Management’s industry initiative to create a shared ‘know-your-client’ platform in Hong Kong. Many private banks in the region sat on the fence concerning the merits of a shared utility, however UBS Wealth Management’s decision to be the first to raise its hand and lead the digital identity concept demonstrates true thought leadership.

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