Does private banking have a future in the world or even in its favourite home, Switzerland? This was one of the many topics discussed at today’s event.

Held at the Marriott in Zurich, Private Banking & Wealth Management Conference 2023 started with Stefan Kirsch, head of international private banking and managing director at Bergos Bank, presenting on the future of private banking in Switzerland.

He asked: “Is private banking still a dream job? There is a question mark there.”

Kirsch continued by asking ChatGPT about the future of private banking, only gaining a vague answer.

However, Kirsch remained optimistic as “global wealth is growing” and Switzerland is still the number one offshore booking centre, according to research.

Financial wealth is still growing in Switzerland despite wars, a pandemic and economic downturn, but the number of private banking players is shrinking. Only 89 private banks exist now despite there being over 100 a few years ago.

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Competitors to private banks are emerging as well, which causes margin pressure.

He stated: “New entrants like fintechs are not really important right now, but they still compete with their price offering.”

“The question is how can banks position to be successful in the future? Switzerland has a good position, banks are struggling with profitability but the smaller banks made decent profits this year and the big banks will survive,” he continued.

Another benefit of Switzerland is the political landscape is very stable and holds a great number of qualified and educated bankers.

Kirsch concluded: “Overall, I think that human private banking is key. I can tell you that the US sees AI as an opportunity, here it is seen as a threat that needs to be regulated. I think it can be used for human private banking. It depends on the personal banker. You need to be empathetic, you need to listen, rather than just selling.”

In addition, PBI is pleased to announce the finalists for the Private Banking Switzerland & Wealth Management Awards 2023. You can view the various categories here.