According to media reports, Credit Suisse is now using machines to help its employees answer simple compliance questions. Are these “chatbots” important for Credit Suisse? If so, to what extent? If not, why not?
Automated solutions are already used for more straightforward inquiries in a large number of industries. Just as self-help software can help identify and solve simple problems, cognitive computing systems can provide our clients with digital support – whenever and wherever. They will undoubtedly generate major added value for the industry, but they can never fully replace the client advisor.
How important are innovation centres within an organisation to the development of new digital strategies?
A number of approaches can be used to boost an organisation’s innovative capacity. I don’t think there’s a simple, one-size-fits-all approach. In our case, an integrated model coupled with strong external support has proved successful: We promote innovative thinking within the organisation, though partly also with support from our Credit Suisse Labs start-up in Silicon Valley – which is outside of our business structures.
“We foster innovative thinking within the organisation and simultaneously gain support from our Silicon Valley start-up, Credit Suisse Labs.”
According to our annual “PwC CEO Survey,” dealing with digital data will be a differentiating factor in the future. Is that also the case for Credit Suisse?
Managing “big data” is indeed very important, and obviously I completely agree with that statement. Analysing large amounts of data and drawing useful conclusions from that process is an element of digitisation that has already changed the shape of many industries and will continue to do so. Thanks to the systematic processing of raw data, we are able to offer our clients better advice – by using intelligent algorithms to develop models for future market movements, for example, or optimizing our internal processes.
What risks do you think digitisation brings for society? And for Credit Suisse?
I’m convinced that digitisation first and foremost creates opportunities for individuals and companies. Clients benefit from faster, more accessible, more secure, and cheaper services. Companies, meanwhile, can boost their operational efficiency and address individual clients much more effectively. But increasing digitisation also creates potential vulnerabilities that can be exploited through cyberattacks. Active measures need to be taken to prevent such occurrences.
What do you and your company do to prevent cyberattacks? How important is this issue for Credit Suisse?
These days it’s virtually impossible for a company to operate without comprehensive protection from cyberattacks. We are responsible for protecting our company and clients against these kinds of attacks, and having a clear cyber strategy is an absolute must. Cybersecurity is accorded the utmost priority at Credit Suisse; here we have a very strong set-up in organisational as well as personnel terms. I consider cybersecurity to be one of the biggest systemic risks facing banks.
What role does a Chairman of the Board of Directors play in tackling digital challenges?
At Credit Suisse, the Board of Directors plays a fundamental role in determining the company’s strategy, and digital innovation has become an integral part of that strategy. On my initiative we therefore decided some time ago to set up an Innovation and Technology Committee at Board of Directors level – a committee that works closely with the Executive Board. Around five years ago, I also took the proactive step of initiating a disruptive innovation-driven incubator at group level; this began developing digitally driven business ideas back in 2012.
“I’m convinced that digitisation opens up opportunities for individuals as well as companies.”
Given today’s pressure to be contactable at all times, do you ever get the chance to go offline?
I love going to the cinema or attending the opera, where you have no choice but to be offline.
What did you dream of becoming when you were a child?
I was – and remain to this day – very inquisitive, so my career choices have constantly changed over the years. When I was young
I was very interested in a career as a screenwriter or producer, but I eventually gave that up – even though my interest in film and media has stayed with me to this day. My fascination for the stock market and banking was also there from an early age, ever since buying my first shares at the age of 16. With the exception of five years in the media industry, I’ve actually spent my entire professional life with banks and finance companies. So, as you can see, in the end I’ve more or less achieved my childhood dream.
Short questions – short answers
What is your favourite app?
Credit Suisse’s digital banking, particularly our trading tool.
What wallpaper do you have on your mobile phone or laptop?
A picture of my children.