Cornelius Dorn is convinced that the clock is ticking for the Swiss financial industry. “If we don’t take action ourselves to devise innovative solutions, our financial institutions risk getting crowded out of the market by the US technology giants.” In fact, Apple, Google, and the like are increasingly encroaching on the territory of banks and insurers, often using payment solutions as a gateway. Facebook, for instance, just recently announced plans to launch its own global currency, called Libra, next year. The California-based social media company has held a banking license since 2016.
The Petri Dish of Banking
So, to enable Switzerland’s financial center to enter the open banking era as efficiently as possible, SIX has developed a uniform data exchange platform – without any regulatory compulsion and in alignment with the needs of clients, banks, TPPs, and other potential participants. “The platform from SIX will set the standards for efficient open banking in the Swiss financial center,” Dorn says, “and at the same time will guarantee all participants a high level of security.”
The platform will link the different participants via standardized APIs in a way that will enable them to develop new, innovative, user- friendly solutions and to get them to customers more easily. “It is also intended to be kind of like a petri dish for cultivating ideas and business models,” Dorn explains. Other approaches are also being pursued in Switzerland, he says, “but the platform from SIX is currently the only solution being offered by a centralized infrastructure service provider. Moreover, it eschews shortcuts like ‘screen scraping,’” a process of automatically capturing screen display data that some companies are forced to resort to if there are no interfaces available. Screen scraping has a bad reputation; it is generally considered error-prone and is frequently misused by hackers.