“Divine assistance helps with IT projects” – 3 years of trusting collaboration
Published: 11.12.2023 | By investify
Internationale Bankhaus Bodensee (IBB) was the launch customer for the private banking suite of the investify TECH platform in 2020. For Andreas Falger, Head of Private Banking at the bank, which is part of the Würth Group, the Catholic Church, as one of the shareholders of his service provider, ensured trust. Today, he looks back at the beginnings of the collaboration and takes a look ahead.
Mr. Falger, how did the contact between you and investify TECH come about?
I had my first contact with investify TECH at a Baader Bank event at the end of 2019. At the time, we at IBB were asking ourselves how we could reorganize our asset management
What was important to you?
My conviction was and is that I would never let two topics out of my hands. Firstly, we make the decisions about the portfolios, after all we have to take the rap for this, but this is also our expertise, which is why clients come to us. And secondly, we are responsible for sales and the customer interface. To do this, I need motivated colleagues who are passionate about what we do. Asset management, sales and consulting are our core competencies; as an asset manager, I can outsource other things. These are often the things that are not necessarily fun, such as regulation and administration. Digitalization results in efficiency gains and cost advantages, but also better compliance.
So you knew exactly what you wanted…
Well, that might sound like it. I knew I didn’t want to buy a finished product and then have to live with it. We quickly gained confidence in investify TECH, even though we had compiled a whole list of possible service providers. On the way home from the Baader conference, we said: “That was really cool!” We had sensed a genuine interest, an honest effort to create a product together. We both knew that it depends on the customer’s perspective, which you have to keep an eye on, because if the customer doesn’t accept a product, all the digitalization is useless.
But the customer view, i.e. the front end, a “beautiful”, modern online banking with a smart app is what many institutions want.
Yes, exactly. But that’s only one side of the coin. I am firmly convinced that future-proof private banking can only succeed with a combination of personal advice and automated and digital processes. This is why we have also jointly developed investify TECH’s robo-advisor suite into a hybrid asset management system. We can now identify solutions in dialog with the customer. And the best thing is that the customer is part of the solution finding process. He rewards that. In addition, the customer can open their IBB app every day and take a look for themselves. That’s nice, but the other thing is ultimately more important. What’s more, the digitalized processes take work off our hands. This is not perceived as added value by the customer, but it is very important in the overall structure. I would rather have something that works than something spectacular.
Can you describe this in more detail?
It relates to settlement and portfolio management, for example. Our portfolio managers say that they have never worked so comfortably because they can concentrate on their core competencies, namely capital market analysis. They say: this is what the portfolios should look like – and the implementation in the individual portfolios is done digitally via investify TECH. That is a plus in terms of speed and simplification. We are no longer aware of everything that goes into it, the path via investify TECH, Baader Bank, trading, summarizing orders, block orders, booking. Doing all this manually would not be possible above a certain size. There are also no more price differences for customers because everything happens at the same time.
What happened next?
We started our collaboration in February 2020. And on 3 August 2020, we went live with digitalized asset management. That was an incredibly challenging time! But it was also a great experience to see how two teams – despite coronavirus – managed to achieve such a great result! We pulled together and always solved everything objectively in the interests of further development.
How do you see the project in retrospect?
It was a big leap for us as IBB to say at the time that we were reorganizing our asset management with a technology and regulatory provider and another bank (in this case Baader). But we quickly had the feeling that investify TECH had mastered the technology and regulation. We are happy to have taken this path.
It was also important to us: who is behind it, who owns investify TECH? We would have found it difficult with a financial investor, but with solid and stable owners, such as a pension fund, a family office or the Catholic Church, it is something different and very reliable. What’s more, divine assistance sometimes doesn’t hurt with IT projects (laughs).
And I am pleased that many other banks and asset managers are now working with investify TECH, including larger institutions. It fills us with pride to know that we were the first and that we initiated many things that are still used today, such as the logic of the onboarding process.
And if you take a look into the future?
The good thing is that innovations are always coming. The wealth management platform is alive, it is constantly evolving – even without us having to commission anything, pay extra or reinvent the whole wheel. The more partners use such a platform, the more stable it is and the more ideas are introduced and implemented. Everyone benefits from a platform like this.
We never run out of ideas either, for example we want to implement sustainable asset management on the platform. But for a smaller company like us, this is of course always a question of capacity.
I am very interested in such topics because I am convinced that the next generation will have completely different expectations of digital formats. And we should tackle this as early as possible and gain experience.
What wish do you have for investify TECH?
I am usually very much in favor of new things and transformation. However, when working with investify TECH, the most important thing for me is that everything stays as it is!
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