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.

Analysts continue downward revisions of ad spend forecasts

downward ad spendingDown, down, down. Some major analysts have recently revised their projections of ad spending for 2009, and it comes as no surprise that the original projections of double-digit growth have shriveled into the low single digits for the sector.

UBS Equities recently downgraded its ad spending forecast to 1.4 percent growth,
compared to the company’s previous estimate of a 10.4 percent rise in spending.

Veronis Suhler, meanwhile, broke digital media spending out of its overall forecast. While overall US advertising is now projected to decline -0.4 percent, versus a previous forecasts of 4.9 percent growth, online will fare better.

— Internet and mobile spending are projected to grow 9.1 percent, down from previous forecasts of 15.5 percent. 

— Mobile
content and video games will grow 34.2 percent and 19.5
percent respectively.

— Traditional media: newspapers, TV, magazines, and radio ad spend is forecast
to plummet -16.2 percent, -9 percent, -8.5 percent, and -7.2 percent