Although Switzerland has a relatively strong economy, regulatory pressures and a move to eliminate secrecy in the banking sector is forcing a lot of Swiss private banks to fight harder than before to stay afloat. Some Swiss private banks are turning to nascent technologies such a blockchain to improve their prospects. One of such banks is Maerki Baumann. The 87-year old bank is hoping that adding digital assets to its product offering will offer a breath of fresh air to its current model.
The private bank wants to cash in on Switzerland’s growing blockchain industry to grow its current assets of around $8 billion in smaller markets while attracting new clients. CEO Stephan Zwahlen stated that “intensive competition and margin erosion” is forcing the bank to search for other sources of revenue, Swiss Info reported.
The bank’s representative went further to say that over 400 clients had indicated interest in its blockchain offerings following disclosure of its interest in the crypto sector. There are already signs that blockchain may be the bank’s solution. Zwahlen said:
In our traditional business, we usually have to run after each client. It’s […] rather rare for clients to just knock on our door. We suddenly had 400 people wanting to talk with us. And they were exactly the kind people we had been struggling to access for 10 years […] they were typically between 30 to 40 years old, very well educated and with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Maerki Baumann will begin by offering advice on Security Token Offerings to business clients. By next year, its target is to partner with crypto specialists and offer crypto storage and trading services for Bitcoin and alts. Further down in its execution advisory and asset management services will be rolled out for private banking clients. Zwahlen expressed his optimism in this aspect, noting:
I would expect over time that digital assets such as crypto/blockchain might even take on a greater significance than our traditional private banking business, particularly in terms of asset growth.