Tightly regulated: how does a Swiss bank go mobile?

With mega-tight regulation for Swiss bank UBS, what are the challenges of going social and mobile, and how do they market to ultra high net worth (UHNW) customers?

At Mobile Marketing Live last week, I listened to Shane Williams, Head of Mobile Development for Platform Services at UBS. I had no idea just what a minefield it is to market a bank, especially in Switzerland.

UBS provides wealth management services for around half the billionaires in the world. It also has plenty of retail branches in Switzerland and an investment arm.

Acting in many countries, UBS is beholden to hundreds of regulators, including FINMA in Switzerland, the SEC in America, and the FCA and PRA in the United Kingdom.

Navigating the barriers to mobile and social usage is massively impacted by Swiss law, which says a bank can’t reveal who its customers are. This is enshrined in law in much the same way as patient-doctor confidentiality.

It even means that UBS has to be careful about knowing the IP addresses of customers using their services, as this can be tied to an address and perhaps a person.