Open finance, i.e. the exchange of customer data between financial institutions and third-party providers, is gaining traction worldwide, so the call for standards is accordingly loud. Unlike in the European Union, where the PSD2 directive sets certain compulsory guidelines, financial institutions in Switzerland can be part of the solution them - selves without the need for a regulator. This requires, however, a “shared understanding of the legal framework and coordination across the industry,” as the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) recently wrote. The SBA therefore has defined institutional responsibilities and competences in collaboration with the Swiss FinTech Innovations (SFTI) industry association and relevant market participants. The SBA takes on a coordinating function while SFTI, together with other market participants, lays the groundwork for standardized application programming interfaces (APIs).
The new OpenWealth APIs prove the success of this approach. In December 2020, delegates from the wealth management industry reached an agreement on adopting communally shared APIs. SFTI incorporated them into its common API catalogue. The standards are managed and maintained by the Open - Wealth Association, which was founded specifically for this purpose under the leadership of Synpulse together with the members St. Galler Kantonalbank, Zürcher Kantonalbank, Alphasys, Assetmax, Etops/ Evolute, and SIX. The association selected the bLink open banking platform from SIX to operationalize the APIs, which supplement existing API offerings for accounting tasks. The benefit for financial institutions lies in scalability. Once they and thirdparty providers are on bLink, they can enter into partnerships with all other participants with little expenditure of time and resources. This, in turn, fosters the nationwide establishment of recognized API standards in the market.