July 3, 2020

What Are The Technological Innovation In Banking?

Most people would associate private banking with people. This is most certainly true. Serving our clients to the best of our ability, helping them reach their goals and grow their wealth are the hallmarks of our business.

But private banking today is also a business that is as much about technology as it is about people. Few industries in today’s digital economy are immune from digital disruption. We are no different.

For some, disruption is a scary word. But I believe that in private banking, and especially for those of us in information technology, the future has never looked more exciting.

In previous pieces, our Global Head of  Operations and Technology, Eddy Tai, wrote about the exciting projects that we have done and is embarking on in the future.

What I would like to share is how we are going to develop these solutions.

The simple answer is this: We will do this the smart way.

Call the IT Desk no more

For the longest time, IT professionals in banking were typically project managers or technicians dealing the problems. Got a computer problem? Call the IT desk – that was the mantra maybe about a decade ago.

But in today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving technological landscape, we can no longer afford to treat precious IT talent as simple repairman.

For one thing, digitalisation of the banking sector, the demand for customised and digital solutions is rapidly rising.

Retail banking has borne the brunt of disruption and technological change. And in private banking, the urgency to adapt to new technologies and modes of doing things is fast growing.

Clients want personalised and customised service, solutions that fit their profile. According to the Boston Consulting Group Wealth Report 2018, over 70% of wealth management clients see highly personalised service as a key factor in deciding whether to stay with their current provider or switch to another.

How can we do this effectively and efficiently across all our wide client base? The solution is technology, from automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

By equipping and complementing relationship managers with the right technological tools, analyses and data, they will not only be better able to meet the rising needs of their clients but also do more with less.

Our driving force

While one option is to outsource the building of these solutions to third-party vendors, we believe that it is equally important for us to develop our core expertise and talent in-house to keep up both quality and the pace of change.

We have and will continue to work with promising start-ups and tech firms to develop solutions but in a process of co-creation. We have rolled out several key projects that have boosted our productivity and allowed us to offer greater value to our clients.

We have first adopted agile way of working in the area of client experience, where we needed to focus. We have implemented DevOps within our digital competency as well as for our core processing systems. According to Puppet, the DevOps methodology can bring about much improved efficiency such as faster deployment time and lesser errors.

All of these efforts have paid off. We hit a major milestone this year, two years ahead of schedule, with US$100 billion in assets under management (AUM).

But we can and will grow further, aided by the targeted and continuous use of technology.

To this end, Bank of Singapore is pumping S$200 million into technology investments to boost digital capabilities and efficiency. These improvements will spell more personalised content for our clients, with the help of data analytics and digital tools.

Artificial intelligence will be a big part of the equation, especially through the strengthening of our research teams. This will set the bank apart from the rest of the competition.

This is just the start. There is much more to be done in private banking. As technology evolves, we too must be prepared to transform.

At the heart of these efforts are our IT talent, the software engineers, network specialists and innovators. They are the driving force of our digitalisation push and will anchor our efforts as we move to re-imagine private banking.

They are setting new benchmarks and raising the bar ever higher.

So here’s a poser for those in IT in banking: Do you want to simply follow the leader? Or set the pace for transformation?a

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