“Come gather 'round people wherever you roam. And admit that the waters round you have grown. And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth savin'. Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone; for the times they are a-changin'.”
These anti-establishment words by Bob Dylan hold as true as ever. Now, the traditional banks in Switzerland are facing the age-old consequence of not adapting fast enough with the swiftly changing world.
The upcoming FinTech companies seem to be disrupting the space. A study by the Institute for Financial Services Zug (IFZ) has confirmed the same.
To summarize the study, they are optimistic about the Swiss financial center. FinTech companies are no longer outliers but have entered the mainstream. Notably, ICOs are not the only measuring stick for FinTech activity. Other prominent factors include fintech “incubators”, conferences, award ceremonies, the right talent, media coverage and the existence of industry associations.
This study shows that this applies in particular for FinTech companies in the technology-driven product areas like Distributed Ledger Technology and Analytics. FinTech companies with a clear focus on providing innovative solutions for traditional financial processes, products or services, reveal a comparably higher local or regional orientation.
FinTech companies in technology-driven product areas such as Distributed Ledger Technology and Analytics reveal a higher international orientation than Deposit & Lending or the Payment.
The study warns that traditional banks have to evolve or they will end up becoming irrelevant. They say:
“The declining value added by the Swiss financial industry to the total income of the Swiss economy is a consequence of the steadily decreasing relevance of traditional financial institutions. Reasons for this development include new business models, that make some services provided by banks obsolete.
Examples hereof are UBER or Airbnb, whose solutions seamlessly integrate the payment process without the involvement of traditional banks. Another example is robo-advisors, some of which are also offered by traditional banks, who generate lower revenues than traditional offerings. The declining relevance of banks is, however, not of a disruptive nature. FinTech companies or tech companies are in many cases simply faster and more efficient in the implementation and application of new technologies.
Of course, traditional banks could also be winners of the digital transformation if they possess the right skills and corporate culture to implement technological innovations quickly and consistently.”