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The 'biggest threat' is big tech: DBS PB

The 'biggest threat' is big tech: DBS PB

In the digital landscape, the biggest threat at the moment are no longer banks, but rather the big technology firms, says Evy Theunis, digital wealth head of DBS Private Bank.

In an interview with Citywire Asia, Theunis said companies like Alibaba or Google, that are able to launch new products at scale and at an extremely fast pace are the biggest rivals for banks.

‘How we work on staying ahead of the curve is by constantly challenging the way we look at banking today, and try to disrupt ourselves and change the mind-set of our staff,’ she said.

According to Theunis, private banking clients nowadays want the comfort of being able to manage their finances anywhere, anytime. Trust, for that matter, she said is very important.

‘When customers manage their wealth and do their banking, they want personalised relationships. Customers want to feel the personal touch when dealing with the bank.

‘This has become increasingly important, especially with the ability to use data in a much more powerful way and with the rise of artificial intelligence. We are looking at how we can best integrate this into our business,’ she added.

In the last five years, DBS has made significant efforts to innovate across the full spectrum of its digital offering.

Last February, after two years of fine tuning, the Singaporean bank launched the enhanced version of its wealth management platform, DBS iWealth. It is catered to high-net-worth clients in its DBS Treasures Private Client, DBS Private Bank, and DBS Treasures business segments.

‘DBS iWealth is a full suite offering that extends beyond customer engagement,' Theunis said. 'The objective of the platform also includes online acquisition and investment transactions, thereby generating revenue and reducing cost to serve.

‘The customer journey is complemented with our RM Mobility app, providing our customers with a consistent digital experience even when they are in discussions with our relationship managers.’

Going forward, DBS is keen to drive personal investments in the affluent segment through financial planning tools and data-led advisory. The bank is also looking to expand its digital wealth management capabilities regionally with localisation efforts.

‘This is to ensure that the customer experience is consistent with local usage behaviours and needs, so as to remain relevant for the country while providing cost synergies from a platform development perspective.

‘Furthermore, we are working at bringing our product management and advisory architecture to a state of the art, which will help us make the next big leap in digital wealth management, ’ Theunis concluded.

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