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A Way Out

Finanz und Wirtschaft: Monday, March 26th 2012

Swiss private banking is, to put it mildly, going through some tough times. Structural change - to use this overused phrase yet again - is not just fashionable, it is necessary. Visions of how to cope with the new regulatory and fiscal environment are sorely lacking. Many banks have not yet grasped that total transparency towards clients is key; they continue to waste tremendous resources on the development of products that are not attractive to clients in terms of performance or fees.

But an incident I heard about caught my attention: information service provider, Cfinancials of Lausanne, makes all relevant information for all financial products around the world available on a single Internet platform free of charge and seems to be getting things moving. A private bank that uses the white-label services offered by Cfinancials for their clients has done away with the entire product offering of a large supplier, because this bank was not willing to provide the product and cost transparency required. And one of the biggest players in the banking industry uses the performance and analysis functions to dismantle its over-sized consulting machine and offer its clients the world's objectively most successful products and not just those from a predefined, subjective segment. While that's not great news for the bankers involved, it shows that there are ways out for the banking industry.