Fintech Influencer Switzerland Interview Series: 7 Questions to Oliver Bussmannby Fintechnews Switzerland June 9, 2020
In May 2020, Fintechnews.ch launched the Fintech Influencer Switzerland Interview series, which presents at least once a week a short interview we have conducted with a well-known, longtime Swiss Fintech Influencer to get his or her views on some of the industry’s most urging issues and hottest trends.
Today we speak with the former UBS CIO Oliver Bussmann* about Fintech in Switzerland and London.
Oliver was nominated by Andy Waar.
Hi Oliver, what has changed for you personally during this pandemic?
Before the pandemic I usually traveled 50% of my time in Europe and in the U.S. That has changed dramatically as I am now working from my home office and allows me to use my work time more efficiently in my advisory projects and with my family.
The coronavirus pandemic could forever change the way we work. With more people working remotely, companies may provide access to co-working spaces for meetings wherever their workers are concentrated rather than have the majority of their workforce at one central office. For team members who no longer work together in a central office, phone calls and meetings may move to video.
Do you think COVID-19 is the digital accelerator that the industry has been missing so far?
The last time there was a global crisis, banks were widely perceived to be a big part of the problem. This time around, banks are central to the solution.
Banks and FinTechs can play an immediate role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by helping customers make better use of existing digital and remote channels. They can help limit the impact of the likely downturn by building new experiences to help their customers manage debt, adjust budgets, and make full use of new government programs.
Therefore, I am a strong believer COVID-19 will accelerate the speed of the digital transformation in the financial service industry in respect to customer channels, market infrastructure and working from home.
What is your current focus?
As part of Bussmann Advisory our current focus is to help C-suite executives and board of directors in the financial services industry and private equity business to stay ahead of the digital disruption curve especially in the COVID-19 crisis. We work with decision-makers to manage technological change and innovation – understanding market trends, devising new digital strategies and supporting implementation.
You were often in London and know the fintech trends there very well, what are we missing?
The UK banking market is continually undergoing transformations in response to new technology, regulation, intensified competition and operating models. An important recent change is the rise of banking as a service (BaaS), a new approach to delivering banking services and products, provided by white-label platform providers like 10X Banking and Though Machine and new digital banks like Monzo and Starling Bank. Offering BaaS became an attractive strategy thanks to cloud-native technologies, API-driven architectures, open banking, and agile business processes.
This transformation is accelerating the business model change in the UK market from traditional product-driven banking to a customer-centric e-commerce marketplace providing financial and non-financial products. A good example is the digital challenger Monzo with three million customers attracted the most current account switchers in the last quarter of 2019 bypassing high street rivals.
Please tell us a Fintech in London we should watch closely?
I have been following Form3 which is the leading ‘Payments as a Service’ (PaaS) technology provider. The cloud-native, real-time payment platform helps banks, FinTechs, financial institutions, e-commerce gateways and card providers process a wide range of payments quickly, simply and cost-effectively without committing resources to develop these offerings internally. Building in-house payments technology is associated with a heavy upfront investment, long development lead times, and execution risk.
What can Switzerland learn from Fintech in London or vice versa?
One of the critical success factors is the aspiration to become the leading global player in your defined niche to grow and scale outside the Swiss market. In the platform economy scale and global reach matters.
Which Swiss Fintech Startup should we have on our radar?
One of the biggest drivers of financial institutions’ interest in blockchain is the concept of smart contracts, which is probably the most discussed but least understood concept in blockchain. While the idea of smart contracts existed for many years before the arrival of blockchain, it has only gained mainstream attention over the past two to three years.
One of the leading smart contract platforms is Deon Digital based in Zurich. I am a big fan and supporter of the team around the co-founder and CTO Florian Herzog over multiple years.
Please nominate a Global Swiss Fintech Influencer for one of our next interviews:
I would like to nominate Efi Pylarinou.
*Swiss Fintech Influencer Spiros Margaris:
Oliver Bussmann is a globally recognized technology thought leader and driver of large-scale transformation at multinational organizations. The Founder and CEO of Bussmann Advisory AG, he advises enterprises and start-ups looking to stay ahead of the digital disruption curve. He also holds important mandates in industry associations, including as Co-founder and former President of the Swiss Crypto Valley Association, Global Ambassador for UK-based Innovate Finance and as a Board Member of Identity 2020. In addition, he is an Advisory Board member of the largest European Asset Manager Amundi and Advisor to the Board of Nationwide.
From 2013 to 2016 Bussmann was Group Chief Information Officer of UBS, where he successfully led a major IT transformation effort, instituted a new group-wide innovation framework and established UBS as a pioneer in the development of blockchain for use in financial services. Prior to joining UBS Bussmann was Global Chief Information Officer at SAP, where he also spearheaded significant technological transformation, and before that CIO for North America & Mexico at Allianz. Previous roles have included executive positions at Deutsche Bank and IBM.
Bussmann’s achievements have been widely recognized. He was named COO/CTO of the year by Financial News/The Wall Street Journal, European CIO of the Year by INSEAD/CIONET, received the Elite 8 Award, which is given to the most innovative leaders in technology working in capital markets by Wall Street & Technology Magazine, and has twice been included on the Financial News “FinTech 40” list of innovators shaping the future of finance.