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The New Contours of Banking

Posted by
Swiss Finance Institute
on
Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:00

Read the blog article in German

How will the future shape of banking look and how will tech companies change the banking landscape? These questions were addressed at our 12th Annual Meeting, which took place yesterday in Zurich.

Our Managing Director Professor François Degeorge welcomed over 250 participants from the academic and financial worlds. The conference started with a panel discussion on how tech giants or Fintech will change business models in the financial services industry. The panelists—Professor Alexander Lipton, MIT Connection Science, StrongHold Labs, EPFL; Dr. Ksenia Wahler, Credit Suisse; and SFI Adjunct Professor Paolo Vanini, swissQuant Group AG—discussed questions such as whether lending platforms and P2P lending will disrupt commercial banking, which human skills will be the most valuable in the financial industry of the 21st century, and whether the tyranny of data analytics will bring back privacy-based business models. The panel was moderated by SFI Professor Jean-Charles Rochet from the University of Zurich.

SFI Professor Jean-Charles Rochet (UZH), Prof. Alexander Lipton (MIT Connection Science, StrongHold Labs, EPFL), Dr. Ksenia Wahler (Credit Suisse), and SFI Adjunct Professor Paolo Vanini (swissQuant Group AG) (f.l.t.r.)

Keynote speaker Professor Axel A. Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors at UBS Group AG, addressed how digitalization impacts wealth management. He stated that banks’ views of the world and their clients were, in the past, driven from an inside-out perspective, which now needs to be changed to an outside-in view. That’s the approach that UBS is applying. Moreover, banks should support their clients in their efforts to master increasing complexity, a trend that will not go away in today’s digital world. Professor Weber believes that both artificial intelligence and blockchain will play a key role going forward, and stressed how important it is to put theory into practice in the digital world.

Prof. Axel A. Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors at UBS Group AG

The second keynote speaker, 2014 Nobel Laureate Professor Jean Tirole from the Toulouse School of Economics, spoke about the impact of technology on the economy, data ownership, and the future of labor. He started his speech by highlighting that Bitcoin is a two-sided market, and thus that Bitcoin must be able to attract sellers and buyers if it is to gain market share in commerce. He then addressed how technology will enable increased efficiency and better services. This may lead to the breaking up of existing structures, which may have both positive and negative effects. Existing jobs will disappear while new ones will emerge, as there will always be jobs. The question, however, will be whether people find these jobs interesting.

More about Professor Weber’s speech can be found in the press articles: English, German, French

2014 Nobel Laureate Professor Jean Tirole from the Toulouse School of Economics

SFI Professor Erwan Morellec from EPFL rounded off the day with the Awards Ceremony—announcing the winners of the SFI Outstanding Paper Award 2017, Best Discussant Doctoral Award 2017, and Best Paper Doctoral Award 2017. SFI’s Chairman, Dr. Romeo Cerutti of Credit Suisse, thanked all the participants for their engagement and the speakers for their outstanding presentations, before opening the aperitif, at which participants were able to continue their discussions.