Digital transformation is a key aspect of the “Strategic House,” the heart of Roadmap 2025 for the Liechtenstein banking center. Banks need to become more digital, not just in theory but also in practice.

Back in May, Liechtenstein‘s Banking Association (Liechtensteinischer Bankenverband) has announced its Roadmap 2025. It’s titled “growth through sustainability and innovation,” and digital transformation plays a big part in it. In an interview with Finews, CEO Simon Tribelhorn has shared some insights into the association’s priorities.

The banking value chain

When asked about the key challenges that Liechtenstein’s banks are facing today, Tribelhorn emphasized digital transformation. It changes value chains, increases competitive pressures, also from non-banks, and changes the way customers interact with banks.

A good example are credit cards, where fintechs offer the card, and banks provide the financing. As fintechs often provide better technologies, products, and services, customers are more inclined to use their cards. But fintechs mostly don’t have the financial firepower and structures to organize the underlying financing, which banks provide. Thus, fintechs cut out part of the value chain, and in this case even dominate the client relations, while banks focus on financing.

That’s just one example; there are many more. The challenge for banks is that they may not only lose part of their business but also control of the client relationship in some instances. Thus, when transforming to platform banks, which is inevitable for banks, the struggle will be to maintain as much control over the business while still keeping up in the competitive race.

Execution

Tribelhorn also emphasized agility as a core requirement for digital transformation. “Agility means for me to anticipate future developments early and launch concrete actions,” he says. “But that’s not all there is to it. The problem is execution. That’s where we have to become better.”

He touches a major pain point of banks in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Earlier this year, a study showed that banks in the region are among the most advanced in Europe regarding digital strategies, but not when it comes to digital execution. Writing a fancy whitepaper and making PowerPoint presentations is one thing; it’s a completely different story to operate digital processes or launch digital products.

The Strategic House

A key part of the Roadmap 2025 will be the so-called “Strategic House” to make Liechtenstein an international leader in asset and wealth management. Tribelhaus believes the innovative spirit in Liechtenstein will enable the country’s banks to play a major role in transforming the global economy to become more sustainable while also providing greater value to customers.

Interestingly, he says the COVID-pandemic has not had a major impact on the contents of the Roadmap. “As a banking location with a long-standing tradition, we think and act long-term oriented,” he says. “That’s why the pandemic has not played a major role in formulating the Strategic House. We defined vision, mission, core values, and success factors exclusively focusing on the future, not on the present.” He also says that COVID has proven that digitalization will change the workplace and that sustainability should be looked at comprehensively instead of taking isolated actions.

If you want to read through the entire Roadmap, you can find it here.

Image: © Liechtenstein Bankers Association