By Valentin Beuchat, Junior Project Leader
swissnex China launched the second edition of the “Future of Money” series in China.
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The disruptive force of new algorithms and big data seems to reach the financial world and is forcing the latter to innovate, primarily as a response to the 2008 global financial crisis. Switzerland is at the cutting edge of FinTech and has gained interest around the world, including China. Combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), the potential is enormous, and swissnex China has set itself the goal to put the spotlight on the Swiss FinTech scene. So stay tuned to find out the swissnex China story about AI in WealthTech and how we connect the dots between Switzerland and China and continues to build an active community to discuss the future trends in FinTech.
AI is the power of a machine capable of replicating an intelligent human behavior and can then learn and make predictions based on data. This automation process is used to assess client risk profiles and allocate and rebalance portfolios. Not only can AI monitor the risks, but it can also mitigate them at an early stage. Moreover, AI technology allows a dynamic segmentation of clients based on parameters such as behavior or risk aversion, identifies product opportunities, provides portfolio decisions and personalized client dashboards with performance analysis, and delivers tailored reports, news, and alerts to mention few examples. This new core technology lowers fees, enables real-time portfolio rebalancing and portfolio transparency with easily understood products, and minimizes - and even possibly removes – human intervention. All these disruptive FinTech features is a way to serve and acquire investors of today and tomorrow, in other words, the millennial investors.
What does this imply for the traditional banking system? What are the scientific underpinnings of this innovation of “FinTech”? How is crowd and data intelligence going to change the relationship between financial institutions and customer? Are traditional portfolio management, decision making, and risk taking replaced by artificial intelligence?
These and many other key questions about the future of this innovation were the focus of a panel discussion of both Swiss and Chinese academics and opinion leaders in the framework of the second edition of the Future of Money series, which took place from April 9-11 in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong.
The Swiss expert panelists included Dr. Thomas Puschmann, Founder and Head of the Swiss FinTech Innovation Lab at the University of Zurich, and Alexandre Gaillard, CEO and Founder of InvestGlass and General Secretary of the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce Geneva. Dr. Puschmann gave the audience a taste of the origin of both artificial intelligence and FinTech topics and where the research is standing nowadays with its leads for the future. On the other hand, Mr. Gaillard shared exciting insights and comparisons about the traditional wealth management industry, as he is a former private banker, and the new technology-driven bank services, as an entrepreneur with his startup. Having perspectives from the public and private sector were enriching, as opportunities and challenges are not the same, but overall both experts highlighted the Swiss FinTech landscape for its dynamism and innovation, and that Switzerland is perceived as a leading nation when talking about finance.
In addition to the two Swiss speakers who participated in the three megalopolis conferences in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong, several more experts and opinions leaders joined the panel in each city. In Shanghai, Frank Wang, Managing Director of CreditEase Wealth Management, and Dr. Ming Liao, Adjunct Professor of Business & Economics at NYU Shanghai, explained where China stands in the field and gave concrete examples based on their own working experience. The panel was moderated by Jerome Eger, Managing Director China of Ginmon, a financial service company providing automatically managed ETF portfolio.
The next day in Beijing, Tao Lei, CEO & Founder of BeagleData, and Ling Huang, Adjunct Professor in Tsinghua University and CEO & Founder of AHI Fintech Inc., joined the panel discussion. They shared and interacted with the audience about topics such as the dilemma between the quantity and quality of data gathered by AI machines and the data security for customers. The moderation was greatly done by our Swiss expert Alexandre Gaillard.
The last stage in Hong Kong welcomed Cat Rüst, Head of Innovation Technologies at UBS Wealth Management Greater China, Gerardo Salandra, CEO of Rocketbots and co-chair of the AI society of Hong Kong, and the moderator Desmond Marshall, country MD for The Floor in Asia. The panel discussion was oriented towards topics including, but were not limited to, the requirements of WealthTech developments in Switzerland and Asia, the significant differences and similarities, the decision-making power of machines, the integration process of AI for financial institutions and its challenges, and of course the customer needs and its role within the whole investing process.
Many interesting and sometimes challenging interrogations were raised during the three events from the 379 highly-focused audience: how will traditional portfolio management, decision making, and risk taking be replaced by AI? Does the customer need that much of AI to handle its wealth? Am I not the best person to make decisions on my own? Does this technology help me making a decision or does it make one for me? What will happen in 5 years? Is AI technology a game changer and will it be mass-adopted in the finance industry?
In the framework of these events, it is also an excellent opportunity for various institutions representatives to connect, exchange, and build some potential partnerships for the future. At least one company is seriously considering setting up its activities in Switzerland, the main reason being its attractive and stable regulatory system regarding the FinTech scene. This story would be a tangible example of how swissnex China contributes to the creation of value in Switzerland and abroad by connecting the right people at the right place when organizing these kinds of events.
Overall, AI in WealthTech is still at an early stage, but rapid improvements are transforming the financial services landscape, which implies opportunities but also challenges. Key players have already identified the emergence of the trend, and new business models are being developed to integrate this cutting-edge technology.
“It was a great honor to be invited by swissnex China, as a speaker on Artificial Intelligence in WealthTech. Great interest from a huge crowd from different countries.” Frank Wang, Managing Director of CreditEase Wealth Management
“Today I’m very excited actually to have the opportunity to learn a lot more about AI regarding Wealthtech in Switzerland and what is new there.” Jerome Eger, Managing Director China of Ginmon.
“Many thanks to swissnex to meet with Chinese investors, business owners, and bankers.” Alexandre Gaillard, CEO and Founder of InvestGlass and General Secretary of the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce Geneva
“I’m excited to be here to discuss with some representatives from Shanghai and also from Switzerland and to draw comparisons and find similarities among two countries.” Dr. Thomas Puschmann, Founder and Head of the Swiss FinTech Innovation Lab at the University of Zurich
“Very excited to be able to be talking to other people from Switzerland and have participants from all types of nationalities to really address where the trend is going and what we could benefit from.” Cat Rüst, Head of Innovation Technologies at UBS Wealth Management Greater China
“Great to be around here because we’re talking about AI in WealthTech, which is definitely the next trend in terms of FinTech.” Desmond Marshall, country MD for The Floor in Asia
This second edition of the Future of Money series would not have been possible without the generous contribution of our sponsors. Many thanks to them and please find some more information below:
Presence Switzerland: Presence Switzerland is competent for the image of Switzerland abroad and implements the strategy of the Federal Council on Switzerland’s communication abroad >> website.
Greater Zurich Area: As the international contact partner for promotion and marketing of the Greater Zurich area economic region, Greater Zurich Area AG (GZA) acts as a liaison between international companies looking to settle in the area and local interests and requirements >> website.
SF Innovation Center: SF Innovation Center is an industrial transformation and upgrading demonstration base and international innovation enterprise center established by SF Group - one of China’s leading comprehensive service providers of express logistics. It integrates the Commercialization Center of Research Findings, Innovation Incubation Center, Brand & Hi-tech Experience Center, Supply-chain Finance Center, E-commerce Advanced Business Park HQ Base and Enterprise Innovation Service Platform. SF Innovation Center is dedicated to linking global industrial innovation Resources to promote industrial development >> website.
Synpulse: Synpulse is an established, globally active management consulting company and a valued partner to renowned international financial services companies >> website.
Squirro: Squirro is a modern cognitive insights engine that uses predictive analytics, machine learning and more to enable you to turn even unstructured data into actions >> website.
CryptoEasy: CryptoEasy is your personal crypto advisor to cover your entire investment journey as a due-diligent investor >> website.