Ralph Hamers joined UBS as a digitizer. His long-term view is slowly shining through.
In Tuesday’s third-quarter results CEO Ralph Hamers said that 3,000 of the planned 9,000 bank’s employees had already switched to the agile working method. This is in line with the CEO’s recent LinkedIn post announcing the implementation of the new «[email protected]» working model.

Seamless ecosystem

Hamers, a self-confessed agile fan, is already thinking about his long-term goal for Switzerland’s largest bank: a seamless, global ecosystem for investments that will connect people. He won’t let out more, however, before the bank unveils its new strategy update on February 1.

Yet, there are clear signs that fundamental work is going on behind the scenes. Hamers is striving to create a «culture of engineers» in IT, as finews.com previously reported. In true agile fashion, large IT projects are critically evaluated every quarter to check whether they are worthwhile. If not, they are scrapped.
This shift should help UBS attract new tech talent to the bank – a pool other Swiss banks also want to tap into in the next few years. 
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Mike Dargan (pictured above), who was elevated to chief digital and information officer by Hamers last April, is not only responsible for the bank’s IT and digitization projects, but also for the entire back office. First results from the bank’s «engine room» have made their way through to the customer.
For example, bank advisors in Switzerland are being provided with recommendations digitally that they can pass on to clients; the hybrid wealth management mandate My Way has attracted over $3 billion in client assets and will be rolled out to German and Italian clients by the end of the year.
Swiss banking app
UBS’ data cloud is also bustling with activity: more than 1,000 new applications were launched this year, the bank says. Getting the «bank on the app» is now a strategic priority for the Swiss business, as the bank relies on online platforms such as Key4 and partnerships with other companies, such as Baloise in the residential sector. In the U.S. UBS is working to bring client advice to smartphones.
No fintech speedboat
UBS’ IT has grown over decades. Old applications need replacing, and requirements for new initiatives are changing. The merger of the Swiss mortgage platforms Atrium and Key4 is one example. UBS stated that it would phase out 500 existing IT applications by the end of the year.
Looming over all of this are the CEO’s demands: «There is so much more we can and must do,» Hamers said Tuesday. That reminder is likely to be heard in UBS’ engine room.

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