Brett King

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Brett King: Radio 938Live – Singapore Interview

In Media, Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Social Networking, Strategy, Technology Innovation on April 30, 2010 at 08:32

Michelle Martin
Radio 93.8 Singapore938 website
Segment: – Passion People

Radio segment that aired on Radio 93.8 Singapore 30th of April, 2010 (Recorded Friday 23rd of April). Michelle Martin and Radio 938 were so kind as to give me a very decent opportunity to explain more about the premise behind BANK 2.0 as a book and talk about the real challenges facing banks in creating or adopting innovations around customer experience.

The interview is approximately 10 minutes in length (uploaded in 2 parts due to file size). Hope you find the insights useful.

Radio 938 Interview – Part 1
Listen to Radio938Bank2.0-Part1

Radio 938 Interview – Part 2
Listen to Radio938Bank2.0-Part2


Brett King: I’m on the move, therefore I am…HELP! (HuffPost)

In Blogs, Media, Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Social Networking, Strategy, Technology Innovation, Twitter on April 26, 2010 at 09:45

See the original post here

Mobility is such a basic requirement for the connected, networked executive today. I travel about half of my time promoting my book, BANK 2.0, and working with clients around the globe. When I land in any country I’m visiting, the first thing I generally have to do once I get on the ground is ‘check-in’, and I’m not talking about FourSquare. When I get off the plane from a 6 or 7 hour commute, the need to quickly check my emails is pretty critical these days because alot of stuff I deal with is increasingly time sensitive. But the experience of such a simple task is often frustrated.

For Blackberry customers there is some network interconnectivity for data and email, but for other users of mobile devices it is down to data roaming or local WiFi connectivity. For laptop owners, it comes down to WiFi. At this point it is all a bit hit and miss depending on where you are.

Last week I checked into the Hard Rock Hotel in Sentosa in Singapore’s new resort district. The charge was S$35 per day (approximately US$25). This seems to be about the standard daily rate for internet connectivity in hotels – which is crazy given the connectivity costs likely means that the same hotel is paying around S$90 per month for 1Gbit line. That means a mark-up of around a Gazillion percent 🙂 However, Singapore is generally pretty advanced as far as roaming/tourist connectivity.

Right now I’m blogging this entry from a cafe in Singapore using the community Wireless@SG service provided FREE by the Singapore government (iDa – Infocomm Development Authority). To get access I just simply dial a local number (*186) on my mobile and it sends me a password I can use to access WiFi pretty much anywhere in Singapore for free during my stay – outstanding really.

When I land in Hong Kong, I can get a similar access at airports, etc although as a resident I’ve chosen to go with the Wirless Next-G solution where I get 21Mbps connection speeds, unlimited downloads all for around US$50 per month. Japan and Korea, I have similar connection options, but even faster connectivity and cheaper rates. Asia is really the place to be mobile and connected. Once I step on a plane, however, things start to move backwards in time.

In Australia local WiFi connectivity in coffee shops is almost unheard of. Recently in Melbourne I walked into a Hudson Coffee and was told by the local barrista that they wouldn’t provide wireless internet out of fear that University students might flood the coffee shop. Last week at Brisbane airport I couldn’t get wireless connectivity even if I was willing to pay for it, let alone a free service. There was access in the Qantas club, but being a Cathay and Emirates frequent flyer that was not an option for me. There was a local internet kiosk – but you had to use a desktop for access – no WiFi. The solution? I had to buy a pre-paid SIM, put it in my iPhone and use tethering. Loco loco!!

In the US unless you are a US citizen with a social security number, you are doomed to purchase expensive day-passes to get continued access. The UK offers a similar story. Because you are from “out of town”, your ability to get a cost-effective connectivity option is generally reduced. Anyone would think that we are living in a dial-up global economy with these kinds of crazy limitations in connectivity for mobile warriors.

I guess the thinking from local providers is that as a business traveller you can afford to pay a premium, but shouldn’t governments be thinking about attracting foreign and local business people to their city and offering incentives to do business in these locations?

Then there is the issue of effective commerce on the move.

Today I walked into a local HSBC branch in Singapore to pay a credit card bill. I have a HSBC credit card issued from both Dubai and Hong Kong where I am in the bank’s Premier segment. When I walked into the branch to make a credit to my card, however, I was told that because I didn’t have a local account making a payment to my HK or DXB card was not possible. The suggestion – “try doing a money order from Western Union to your Hong Kong account…”

Amazing! This is why I hate going into branches!

In this day and age to have a major global bank not have the sort of basic connectivity and capability for global movers like myself is a major issue. The visit to the branch was because I figured there was no other way I was going to be able to deposit the cash that I had received in Singapore. In the end, I got the cash converted into USD currency and will have to carry it with me until I return to Hong Kong, pay a premium to have a remittance provider handle it, or deposit in a friend’s local account and get him to transfer the cash.

A Philippine National working as a maid or domestic helper in Singapore can transfer money back home via her mobile phone, and yet me…a global, preferred status customer can’t because I don’t have a local account with the world’s “local” bank. Maybe that’s the problem – they are lots of local banks.

Once again I am stuck with finding a work around for outdated, outmoded processes that think like a bank stuck in the 20th Century. Don’t get me wrong – HSBC is an excellent bank when you are in your home town of the UK or Hong Kong and need anything done locally. I know the same situation applies for Citibank, BofA and just about every major bank these days. You exist as a customer for a profit centre – when you walk outside that profit centre you no longer carry any status or privilege.

Today all this is simply inexcusable. About the only thing that is going to keep me in one place long enough to do my banking by the old paradigm these days is a volcano. Otherwise, banks better get moving…

Now if this was a post regarding my Dell computer, I bet I could expect someone from Dell to contact me within the next few hours to help me fix my problem, because they are constantly monitoring blog posts and twitter feeds for such issues. Let’s see how long it takes HSBC shall we?

The Asian Banker Summit: Tackling Reform and Innovation (FinExtra)

In Retail Banking, Social Networking, Strategy, Technology Innovation on April 23, 2010 at 03:32

The original post appears here…

The Asian Banker Summit for 2010 was held over the 19-20th of April in Singapore with record attendance, in what was the 11th annual occurance of the event. With more than 600 bankers in attendance, the conference was not only the largest Summit on record, but ranks as one of the largest banking events in the world now.

The summit had the support of some impressive names. Amongst the speakers on the opening session was Neel Kashkari, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability under Hank Paulson, Heng Swee Keat, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Wee Ee Cheong, CEO of UOB and chairman of the Association of Banks of Singapore on key challenges to the financial services industry, and David Eldon, previous Chairman of HSBC Banking Group, and now Chairman of Dubai International Finance Centre.

Amongst the hot topics were proprietary trading for banks, regulatory reform, globalization and harmonization of regulatory frameworks, innovation, social media and reducing risk and uncertainity in financial markets.

The event was the first event with comprehensive Twitter participation throughout the conference, and some of the tweets highlight key thoughts that emerged. I thought the best way to focus on the key outcomes was to cover off some of those tweets.

  • Keynote panel at #TABS Opening Session: Hang Swee Keat (MAS), Wee Ee Cheong (UOB), David Eldon (DIFC), Neel Kashkari (TARP), Emmanuel Daniel
  • We must regain the trust of our customers…” – Emmanuel Daniel, Asian Banker

On David Eldon’s opening keynote…

  • 3 big hazards for banking sector (David Eldon) – Regulation, Political Landscape & Uncertainty, “Premature Economic Jubilation”
  • David Eldon says “Bank Tax” in the UK is likely to push many UK FIs to places like Switzerlan
  • The impact of social media is a key concern for retail banks in driving innovation – David Eldon
  • @wsquare – David e. says regulations top his list which keep him awake@night!

From Wee Ee Cheon, Chairman of the Singapore Association of Banks

  • Wee Ee Cheong says “The pace of change in Banking is accelerating due to innovation, beyond the control of banks…
  • Wee Ee Cheong (Singapore Assoc of Banks) says as economic rebound occurs, new players emerging & ongoing volatility
  • Wee Ee Cheong (Chair, Assoc of Banks Singapore) says Economic Crisis has taught banks “how to survive”
  • The importance of “Trust” and “Confidence” with customers should remain as the cornerstone of banking – Wee Ee Cheong
  • Emmanuel Daniel (TAB) says bank regulators need to have trading experience & collaborate, not just economics and/or banking experience

From Heng Swee Keat – Head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore

  • Heng Swee Keat (MAS) says that stealing competitors staff is a poor short-term strategy for growth, better is training/developmen
  • MAS considering introducing mandatory training program for Bank Directors to improve corporate governance – Heng Swee Keat (MAS)
  • Regulators need to be ‘outcome focused’ not just ‘rule focused’ creating more disruption in recovering economy – Heng Swee Keat (MAS)
  • New players in technology and innovation are not receiving enough support from finance sector to assist growth – Heng Swee Keat (MAS)
  • MD of Monetary Authority of Singapore, Heng Swee Keat says important that global banking regulatory reforms do not become politicized
  • MAS considering mandatory training for board of directors and even national exam for FI staffs eg for relationship managers!

And from Neel Kashkari, the Interim Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability, and where he led the Office of Financial Stability which oversaw the TARP initiative in the US.

  • Most banks got into trouble in the recent crisis by just being bad banks…” Neel Kashkari (TARP, US Treas)
  • “Contingent Equity” might be a solution for liquidity problems for banks in trouble in the future – Neel Kashkari (TARP)
  • “Too big to fail” – can’t break up largest banks because would have to break them into too many pieces to be practical – Neel Kashkari
  • Failure of GM, Banks would have put the ‘system’ at risk – if not US govt may have allowed failure – Neel Kashkari (TARP, US Treas)
  • The only way to absolutely prevent future financial crises is to stop innovation – not viable, Neel Kashkari (TARP, US Treas)
  • Neel Kashkari (TARP, US Treasury) says regulatory policy/reform is a battle between Economics, Legal, Politics – unpredictable

The twitter coverage of the event bought some very interesting facts out that might otherwise have been lost in the overwhelming discussions on regulatory reform, harmonization and who was responsible for the Global Financial Crisis.

Such a Twitter strategy has been commonplace for events like SXSW, the recent F8 and other such tech heavy conferences, but bankers are not know for their adoption of social media and their strategy for sharing internal insights such as were gleaned at the summit. Perhaps this marks a new awarness of market and customer needs to be more connected with what is happening at the regulatory and policy end of the spectrum. Then again, most of the tweets came from the attendees participating in the technology innovation stream of the event – so maybe it’s still about the geek factor for banking for now.

In any case, a positive trend. Such transparency helps us as broader participants in the financial services sector to feel like we are part of the discussion.

Brett King is author of BANK 2.0 and runs the Banking4Tomorrow advisory

Are retail banks innovative? Bank 2.0 – Infographic

In Retail Banking, Social Networking, Strategy, Technology Innovation on April 13, 2010 at 07:06

The banking and financial services sector is perhaps the oldest profession around. In recent times banks have come under heavy fire from customers, regulators and the media alike for their participation in and failure to prevent the global financial crisis. The introduction of Credit Default Swaps, CDOs, Asset Backed Securities and other structured financial instruments are thought to have contributed significantly to the failure of the global equity markets in 2008, and the subsequent global recession.

So are banks innovating in the right areas? Has the innovation in product produced greater customer satisfaction, higher margins and better banking?

I’ve compiled this infographic to put some of the thoughts in perspective. Let’s just put it this way, banks are not know for their innovation. But they better start learning, and fast…

Retail Banking Innovation Infographic

Is product innovation enough?

The only real iPad application for banking (Huff Post)

In Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Strategy, Technology Innovation on April 10, 2010 at 07:42

See the post as it appears on Huffington

Many would argue that the iPad is a revolutionary device in user experience, but the key innovation in the iPhone and the iPad has been in improving or morphing the way we interface with our computers. Multi-touch is the key element of this innovation…

So is there a role for multi-touch iPad applications to improve customer experience in banking? Well most of our banking these days can be done in the complete absence of a banker. We do cash withdrawals and deposits via ATMs, we do bill payments and transfers via the internet and mobile, and we even apply for products like mortgages, credit cards and personal loans online these days – all without the need for a face-to-face interaction with a banker. Increasingly low involvement applications are moving out of branches because the branch doesn’t provide a value differentiation when it comes to the experience of applying for that type of product.

If you walk into a branch what sort of thing might you still do these days? Well we used to walk into a branch to deposit or cash a check, but statistics show check usage in the western world is in rapid decline due to Internet banking adoption and electronic transaction capability. You might need to request a reprint of a statement, sign an important document related to your bank accounts or want to discuss an apparent statement discrepancy. You might wish to seek advice on a specific investment. There is still a role for the branch for certain types of human interactions that add value for a sales engagement or service opportunity. Which of those interactions might be improved by the use of the iPad? I’m not talking about Internet banking. The plethora of iPhone applications for mobile internet banking have already shown that the iPad has suitability as a tool for accessing your accounts, etc when you are on the move. But what about when you are in the bank? Is there a role for the iPad to improve the human element, to improve the interaction between banker and client?

Well there is really only one interaction that is massively suited to the iPad – that is the High Net Worth financial or portfolio review meetings that occur within preferred banking or private banking engagements by a financial advisor or relationship manager. There are plenty of specialist software houses and banks alike that have had a shot at improving the standard of client engagement for this vital demographic, but at the end of the day the best financial advisors often just use a pen and paper to lead a client discussion. Putting a laptop in between a financial advisor and a client at this point of engagement is often counter productive – it can disrupt the flow of the conversation and can act as a barrier to the client getting real advice on his needs. Too often software tools that are used assume a one size fits all approach to clients and are ultimately a simple product recommendation tool.

When clients come to their advisor to meet, they don’t want he or she jumping on a laptop to find out which product is right for them. They really want the advisor first and foremost to listen to their needs before making any recommendations. The problem with software interfaces designed to make those assessments is that the advisor has to ask so many questions to get a suitable recommendation that in the end the client feels like the review or interview is an interrogation, not an interaction to help facilitate a solution to their vital issue facing their family.

Simple review meeting take away for client

The best tool for the financial advisor to-date has been pen and paper

The application interface if designed right, in partnership with the iPad as a device, could be a godsend for this interaction. It is a tool that could enhance the discussion with the client, and allow both the client and the relationship manager or advisor to take away key outcomes from the meeting. This could quickly and easily be integrated into the client’s internet banking account so that he sees exactly what was agreed, along with the suggested portfolio allowing him to do the execution online at home. Giving him key control over the most important element of the engagement which is the decision to commit to a specific investment in a particular asset class. KYC is taken care of as he’s an existing client and we just have to ensure that he ticks the correct boxes on the risk side when he clicks on ‘yes’ within the secure environment.

It could even be that the review meeting ends and the advisor goes back to the office to select the most appropriate products in each of the specific asset classes targeted, so the client can do further research online later.

Using the iPad in this way could improve the client engagement dramatically, but still make it feel like an honest to goodness advisory session rather than a product pushing process. The interface still needs to be super simple, but if it does everything the pen and paper can do, but in a structure, simple, usable fashion – it would be a huge improvement in client/RM facilitation.