Brits in Berlin: Swissbank
FINANCE MEETS TECHNOLOGY
The banking industry is facing some of its toughest challenges, from new regulations to global market and macro shifts. As Fintech looks to skim some financial cream, banks need to get some startup savvy. Ahead of the Q1 2017 launch of their global fintech engine, Hans Günter Dahn speaks with Discover Germany about Swissbank, the engines possibilities and their future home in Berlin.
After international careers and a massive amount of experience through working at Microsoft, let’s go back to the beginning. Take me through initial ideas, which inspired you for Swissbank.
Dahn: Our founder Johannes Morandi developed the algorithm when Kahneman and Smith won the Nobel Prize in Economics on Behavioural Finance. The engine was initially targeted on banks to support private customers on reliable investment decisions. Swissbank later had a powerful new scenario with the rise of the mobile devices and started to focus on the consumer market. Today, the top 1% own half the country’s bonds, stocks and mutual funds. The bottom 50% own only 0.5% of these investments. We wanted to become a potent enabler for social equality based on the change that will happen with technology.
Why is the mobile industry important for global wealth?
Dahn: Mobile has had a profound impact on national economies worldwide, particularly in the areas of job creation and economic growth. Increasingly ubiquitous and higher speed mobile networks contribute to many aspects of economic, political and social life in both developed and developing regions. It’s also the predominant infrastructure in emerging markets and available to a larger proportion of the population than many other basic services, such as electricity, sanitation and financial. As a result, Swissbank is addressing the engine to consumers, enterprises and governments likewise.
How can your fintech engine add value for the customer?
Dahn: Like Google, Amazon or Facebook, Swissbank can be used easily and by everyone. Customers can buy financial data or find financial products, that we also reward with a dynamic cashback. What is easy for customers, means a lot of work for Swissbank. With the engine, we analyse and manage more than 1,500 companies with all relevant economic indicators in real time to publish accurate data. With the revenue, we also trade at our own expense and give the majority of profit back to the customer. This is probably the best way to empower your bank account and reduce fees or manage trading risk.
You recently moved part of your business to Berlin. What have been driving forces and thoughts?
Dahn: There are various reasons to be in this city. Berlin, at the moment, has a unique spirit. It blends diverse cultural backgrounds and a variety of languages. It has this special energy, is fresh and happy to try new things, which matches the values of our company.
With our move to Berlin Swissbank wants to establish a safe footing in Europe. Germany is good for Swissbank, as it offers us more stability for a European launch. Our experiences over the years have shown us the way people look towards Germany, as a strong and stable country. In our business, we want to offer our customers the highest stability possible, so Berlin and Germany is the perfect place for us.
What kind of influence do you expect, that the city of Berlin will have on your company? What are your expectations for the future?
Dahn: Our ambition is to establish sustainable workplaces in Berlin and by running daily operations, development and support from Berlin. Over the next three years, we expect the business to grow at a fast pace. Berlin has a great potential for creativity and Swissbank really needs creative people, who like to go on a journey with us. So, from our company’s development point of view, Berlin and the people who live here or want to live here and join us will have a great influence.
But also from our employees point of view Berlin is great. Financially, Berlin is economically advantageous. This translates to the private sphere. That’s why employees in Berlin will have much better possibilities for personal developments, as well as the professional benefits, which we can offer them together with Berlin Partner.
left: Hans Guenther Dahn, Chief Economic Officer (CEO);
right: Johannes Morandi, Founder und Chief Technical Officer (CTO)
Interview by THOMAS SCHROERS