UBS launches Future of Finance Challenge

UBS launches Future of Finance ChallengeUBS launches Future of Finance Challenge

UBS’s principal office at Bahnhofstrasse 45 in Zurich, depicting the current logo, which combines the UBS letters with SBC’s “three keys” symbol.

Swiss global financial services firm UBS announced last week the launch of the UBS Future of Finance Challenge, an open competition for entrepreneurs and technology startups worldwide.

The organization is seeking innovative and potentially disruptive technological ideas and solutions that will foster the transformation of the banking sector. UBS said in a press release that it aims to support the competition’s winners in their bid to commercialize and scale their ideas and technologies by leveraging the firm’s own international presence, strong expertise in global banking and ecosystem of innovation partners.

UBS said the rewards for regional and international finalists in the competition include monetary prizes and acceleration opportunities worth more than $300,000 USD and more than 300 hours of dedicated coaching and mentoring from UBS experts and partners.

The firm is seeking solutions to four particular challenges banks face: delivering the ultimate client experience, offering superior products, building an efficient operating model and ensuring security in banking.

On the UBS Future of Finance Challenge website, the organization outlines the objectives to be obtained with innovative ideas and technologies.

The Client Experience Challenge:

  • Deliver a personalized, engaging and reward experience;
  • Connect banking relationships across multiple banks;
  • Discover clients’ needs and preferences;
  • Provide intuitive search and visualization of financial data;
  • Enable easy and secure access to banking services for new and existing clients; and
  • Ensure optimal interaction on new devices and across channels.

The Superior Offering Challenge:

  • Customize and adapt products and services to individual client needs in a cost-efficient way;
  • Translate investment research into tangible, actionable and relevant advice;
  • Use growing client and market information, both structured and unstructured, to support investors, financial advisors and risk managers;
  • Use crowd-intelligence or artificial intelligence to create superior products; and
  • Provide security of information and identification as a service.

The Banking Efficiency Challenge:

  • Drive efficiency and automation across all processes;
  • Increase the speed, security and reliability of operations;
  • Improve models or risk management and enable real-time risk assessments;
  • Share knowledge and work effectively in a global organization; and
  • Support efficient and effective collaboration between banks and other stakeholders in an ecosystem.

The Secure Banking Challenge:

  • Effectively manage APIs, platforms and client and supplier services;
  • Develop industry utilities that can provide scale across multiple banks;
  • Build and maintain trust in an increasingly digital and virtual world;
  • Proactively support data integrity and client privacy; and
  • Complement current offerings with new data or trust-based services.

Among the approaches and technologies UBS thinks might be relevant are blockchain technology, blockchain applications, cryptocurrencies, distributed ledgers and smart contracts.

Interested applicants have until September 23, 2015 to submit their entries to the challenge. Participants will be divided into four regions: Asia-Pacific; Africa and Western Europe; Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Russia; and the Americas. Up to 15 participants per region will be placed on a shortlist to attend mandatory Immersion Workshops in either Singapore, London, New York or Zurich in the first half of November. Three regional winners from each region will be chosen to do a mandatory Final Pitch at the Global Final to take place in Zurich on December 10, 2015.

In April, UBS announced it would open a technology lab in London to explore how blockchain technology could be used in financial services.

Photo credit: public domain image by OettingerCroat