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Private Banking proposition: Interview with our COO


We sat down with The Wealth Mosaic, who came all the way over to Switzerland in order to get the ultimate and up-to-date insight of Unblu.

Our COO Jens Rabe, in a total of three short clips on Unblu’s features, software deployment and future outlooks, explains our proposition for private banking. Here you have the videos and transcript of the interview.

01. An introduction to the solution offering

Can you please provide us with an overview of the Unblu solution offering?

As you probably know we started out by providing capabilities, specific around co-browsing. So that’s the technological foundation where we also hold a number of patents to the software. We’ve developed various co-browsing technologies and there’s actually not one size fits all. There are very different use cases that require different technology.

We have then realized that there is a broader need to facilitate all communication through a digital channel. So we have subsequently built out the audio chat, video chat capability, the ability to share documents and visualize documents. Also the capability to then have a secure conversation and, originally a chat but now a secure conversation which is akin to something like WhatsApp, just run by the bank as a service for their clients.

So that kind of forms the capabilities that are in the Unblu suite as a core product suite that you would acquire if you acquire the software.

How do clients engage with the solution and what do they get?

What’s really important for us is that a client has a modular way of using the software. Simply because no one’s going for the full use case utilizing all capabilities right as of day one. Everyone’s learning in the implementation, everyone’s mapping out the customer journeys and usually we find customers adding a lot of customer journeys as soon as they have understood the value of the first one they put in place. And it’s also obviously very important that you have a quick hit, got an early win in implementing the software and then you can go from there.

So while we deliver with the software and all of the capabilities, you would activate them module by module. The important thing is you wouldn’t actually have to install additional components you’ll have all of the components already in place. It’s just a sheer licensing and flick a switch and activate the capability if you want to go from a baseline capability into a further capability that you would probably add to your journey.

How do your clients benefit from the Unblu solution?

Usually when we talk about wealth management within the bank it’s the relationship managers that we’re thinking of. And then obviously there’s the end customer, so the wealthy individual that is being served.

A key thing that we are trying to always make sure is that there is no objection to adoption of what we do. So usually for the end client there is no installation whatsoever. The way that we are instrumenting an online or digital channel is that you don’t have to download anything. It’s always delivered with the underlying application which most of the time is your mobile banking application or your e-banking environment. And equally we’re trying to be as consumer centric as possible from a usability point of view also for the relationship manager. Why? Because we know that relationship managers are using WhatsApp today, they’re using browsers today, they’re using their mobile telephones today. So we want to be as close to that end user consumer experience as possible, removing all objections for adoption. Also for the relationship managers.

02. How are you developing the solution offering?

What can you tell us about what you are working on to develop the solution offering?

We’ve been working a lot to complete the journey of how you would be interacting in the digital channel. And I’ve already mentioned all the capabilities that you require in order to replace a physical meeting that you would otherwise have with a banker. The next step will now be to make that interaction even more efficient, both for the bank as well as for the end customer.

One of these things that we’re working on is how can you have more bot style interaction for the more routine tasks that you would be looking at. How can we have more natural language processing integration that would integrate into the back office systems of the bank. As an example: if you wanted to place an order through the secure messaging channel to your bank to buy a certain asset or stock then in today’s regulatory environment being in line with Mifid 2 you would actually have to have a sample trade that is simulated for the client to come back. And that’s something where you don’t actually need your relationship manager to step in. You can just place that sample trade while picking it up with our secure messaging capability. We would pass it on to the underlying system that simulates the trade. We would feed the simulation back to the client, who will have to confirm he has fully understood what the implications are and then execute it from there. So that level of now tying together the conversation with the transaction in the bank is the next big step that we are working on.

03. Solution deployment options, reasons and learnings

What is the solution’s deployment model?

Unblu offers a private cloud that is focused to the financial services industry. It’s fully audited in Switzerland for the FINMA which is the local regulator, but it’s also audited for ISO 27001 standards. So we comply with all of those so we can run the software on behalf of clients, usually integrated within their infrastructure. But I also have to say that most banks that we serve today are actually running the software on premises.

So you can think of this as either your own install or private cloud install or public cloud install. They all would be essentially the same.

Why do your clients choose onsite or cloud deployment?

Usually when we work in an implementation then we work with the business stakeholders as well as the technical stakeholders but then also the regulatory people.

And what Unblu produces in most instances, as we facilitate a conversation between a banker and the client, we’re producing customer identifying data. As soon as you produce customer identifying data usually you would have to store the records on premises or in a controlled environment. So what we find is that most of the time the bank wants to be on the safe side and they apply the same rules that they would otherwise apply to their core banking system also to the Unblu system. Hence 80% of our deployments would tend to be on premises. We’re starting to see more interest in the cloud specifically where we can guarantee the storage of the data in line with the regulatory requirements.

Can you provide us with an example of where your solution has been deployed and what has been learned through the process?

A key use case that we’ve been seeing and also learning from is that we’ve been working with a very big private banking institution, a wealth management institution and what they have found is that they wanted to get ready for the next phase of client engagement from the old ways of actually meeting the client and really having a digital channel enabled. And for that they had a big initiative putting in a modern ebanking front in place. But they didn’t want to leave it there because they knew that they wanted to drive more adoption into that ebanking channel and enable it with chat capabilities and also co-browsing capabilities. And we’ve soon found, working with that bank that the real requirement was secure messaging. So they wanted to have a WhatsApp style experience that was completely built into the ebanking environment. And we’ve been since developing that capability together with the bank and have now managed the successful rollout within the bank that is largely driven, which is I think the interesting factor, by the end customers. So the people that are being served are the ones that now adopt this almost in a wildfire mode, they see this capability when they log into ebanking and they just adopt it and drive it forward. So it’s a change process which is pretty much driven by the end users rather than the bank itself.

In conclusion:

Our project managers not only read our clients’ mind, they also end up implementing the long awaited solution for our client’s gap in their customer journeys. That solution may be a digital channel such as an audio chat, a video chat, the ability to share documents and visualize documents or having a secure messaging experience. Especially when it comes to high-net-worth individuals and the way they expect to interact with their RMs: whenever and however they prefer.

Our prospective developing of the Unblu Suite and what’s in it regarding secure messaging capabilities and e.g. tying those conversations together with transactions, not only excites us but particularly our existing customer base.

We not only understand the inevitable need to follow regulations and capitalizing compliance processes, but also the urge to put the customer first. And isn’t that, what every bank should be doing right now?