The Future of Wealth Management

PwC’s 4th FS-Talk

Wealth managers are challenged by shifting client segments and disruptive technologies PwC experts discuss the key success factors for wealth managers today. Private client re-segmentation makes value-added services more important. Demands on relationship managers are increasing. Operations are under pressure to deliver higher efficiency. Listen in for pointers of where the challenges are and which technologies provide opportunities to gain a competitive edge.

Watch the latest video of our FS-Talk:

Get in contact with the speakers:

Dieter Wirth
Partner / Financial Service Leader
+41 58 792 4488

Marcel Tschanz
Partner Advisory
+41 58 792 2087

Marcel Widrig
Partner / Private Wealth Leader
+41 58 792 4450

Financial services businesses may not be eligible for the European Cost Sharing exemption – opinion of the Advocate General in DNB Banka (C-326/15) and Aviva (C-605/15)


The Advocate General (“AG”) issued its opinion on the application of the cost-sharing exemption (“CSE”) provided by article 132(1)(f) of the VAT Directive in two cases regarding financial services providers (i.e. banks and insurance companies). The opinion of the AG is not in line with the position of the EU Commission and the discussions in various meetings of the VAT Committee in 2010, 2014 and 2015 and it also appears not to be in line with the pending infringement procedures of the EU Commission against Luxembourg (C-274/15) and Germany (C-616/15).

Cost Sharing Exemption

The CSE allows businesses to come together and pool resources as a means of sharing these resources between each other free of VAT (as opposed to procuring services externally with VAT) on the grounds that these resources are directly necessary for the activities of the members of the cost-sharing group. In order to benefit from this exemption, the group needs to consist of entities engaged in VAT-exempt or non-taxable activities and the supplies need to be made by the group to the members at cost.

Currently, the majority of the EU member states allow the application of the CSE to financial services businesses.

Position of the AG

  • The CSE should apply to services supplied by the group to its members and not vice versa (i.e., the contribution of resources by the members of the group to the group (to the pool) is not VAT-exempt).
  • The members eligible for the application of the CSE are companies/bodies acting in the public interest (this excludes financial services businesses).
  • The CSE is only applicable to services supplied between the group and its members established in the same EU member state (i.e., the CSE cannot apply on a cross-border basis).

Potential implications

We anticipate that the impact on the financial services sector will be significant if the Court of Justice of the European Union (“Court”) decides to follow the opinion of the AG. Specifically, the cost of the procurement of services for the benefit of the whole group will be higher (because of irrecoverable VAT). This would mean that financial services businesses would have to consider other available options to manage the VAT costs on the shared services and/or resources. One of the options could be a set-up of a cost-pooling arrangement (cost-contribution arrangement as per chapter VIII of the OECD guidance 2010) to pool resources that are mutually beneficial for all participants and to share the costs of the benefits that each participant derives from the pool. Another option could be to undertake a detailed review of the services supplied between the members to confirm whether they could benefit from the local VAT exemptions.

For the present, we must wait to see if, and to which extent, the Court agrees with the AG’s opinion. However, please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss the above.


Tobias Meier Kern
Director Indirect Taxes
+41 58 792 4369

Marcella Dzienisik
Senior Manager Indirect Taxes
+41 58 792 4938


Project Blue Emerging Markets Geared up for growth: Shaping a fit for purpose financial system

project_blue_emerging_marketsA ‘fit for purpose’ financial system is essential in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth within emerging markets. How do leading markets rate against fit for purpose Targets?

How can policymakers, regulators and financial services organisations actively shape a fit for purpose financial System?

In Geared up for growth: Shaping a fit for purpose financial system, we set out what an efficient, resilient and inclusive – ‘fit for purpose’ – financial system looks like across eight key dimension and how leading emerging markets rate against fit for purpose targets.

Read the whole Report.

The power to perform: Human Capital 2020 and beyond – New publication launch

We are delighted to present our new report: The power to perform: Human Capital 2020 and beyond.

the_power_to_performIn the face of political upheaval, fast-shifting customer expectations, and technological and regulatory disruption, the question is no longer whether financial services (FS) is being transformed, but how quickly, how to keep pace, and how to deliver strong business results in this new environment.

In an earlier paper, we analysed the impact of these transformational developments on operational and organisational models in FS, including capabilities, decision making and reporting relationships. In «The power to perform: Human capital 2020 and beyond», we focus on how these developments are shaping a new people agenda, and set out how FS organisations can proactively manage human capital to ensure they remain relevant and competitive.

7 key priorities for 2020 :

  1. Rebuild trust and redefine employer brand to attract and retain tomorrow’s workforce
  2. Develop dynamic workforce supply/demand models to prepare for the workforce of the future
  3. Maximise the potential of digital ‘talent exchanges’ to promote a better match between talent ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’
  4. Influence redesign of academic curricula and modernise corporate learning & development to build an adaptive workforce
  5. Digitise the workplace to fuel increased workforce productivity
  6. Integrate human capital data analytics in priority business decisions
  7. Redesign jobs and compensation models to reward contribution to business value

Download the full report here.

If you have questions, please contact
Dieter Wirth or your usual PwC contact person.

Beyond automated advice: How FinTech is shaping asset management

Global FinTech Survey 2016

Asset and wealth managers should watch FinTech companies closely and adopt a responsive digital strategy. Otherwise, they face losing part of their business to new entrants.

After leading the way with technology in the 1980s, asset and wealth managers (AWMs) have become dismissive of technology innovations and disruptions to their industry. During the emergence of online brokerages, wire houses gave the upstarts pejorative titles, such as “discount brokers”, holding the belief that these new business models would fail to take off, and the risk they posed to businesses was low.

In reality, these new competitors commoditised trade execution, significantly dropping the price that companies can charge per trade. Eventually, they introduced new pricing models by splitting advice from transactions – full service brokers started to charge on a fee per assset under management (AuM) basis versus fees per trade.

History could repeat itself again with the ongoing disruption caused by FinTech companies. Much like online brokerages, “roboadvisors” have been disparaged as less valuable than human professional wealth advisors, and so far have been focusing mainly on low balance accounts. But the innovations under the umbrella of “robo-advisors” are becoming more sophisticated and, thus, enable advisors to service higher net worth accounts. In fact, “robo-advisors” create an opportunity for asset managers to target the mass affluent who are looking for cheaper alternatives to receive advice on how to manage their assets.


Participants in PwC’s global FinTech survey view asset and wealth management (AWM) as the third most likely field to be disrupted (35%), while 60% of asset and wealth managers think that at least part of their business is at risk to FinTech – lower than most other financial sectors.

By being too complacent, investing mainly in self-serving automation and ignoring the imminent technological revolution, asset and wealth managers might lose touch with their core clients. Additionally, they might miss the opportunity, already tapped by FinTechs, to win the mass affluent market. Keeping abreast with how FinTech is reshaping the industry seems like the most reasonable way Forward.

Read the full report here.

Opinion paper Blockchain

Five propositions to transform the financial services sector

It’s been seven years since Bitcoin first appeared in 2009, when the digital world suddenly saw a very new way of doing business and transactions online. And while digital observers looked carefully at Bitcoin, many moved swiftly over the technology that was making it all happen. That technology, blockchain, is now taking centre stage. It’s a technology so powerful that it’s now seen as the next major change for the Internet. It has the potential to radically transform business, especially financial services. Could blockchain even be the long-awaited stimulation the financial sector has been looking for?

We put forward five propositions to show decision-makers what the blockchain revolution is all about and to provide a platform for further discussion.

Download the full opinion paper here.

Customers in the spotlight – How FinTech is reshaping banking

Consumer banking is on the verge of disruption, much of which is led by the disaggregation of simple products and service offerings.

The majority of financial sector executives believe consumer banking is the sector most likely to be disrupted by FinTechs. As much as 76% of banking respondents fear some part of their business is at risk Nevertheless, just over half of the banks consider themselves to be customer-centric, while as much as four in five FinTechs believe they deliver customer-centric service and offerings. This might be one of the reasons why 42% of banks, the most of all financial sectors, engage in joint partnerships with FinTech companies new entrants pick off segments of the banking sector and develop narrowly defined, but highly effective solutions to manage customer expectations. Competition between banks and new entrants may give way to direct cooperation across the FinTech ecosystem. Opportunities exist for partnership and cooperation that would leverage each other’s strengths, whether in product design and development by the start-ups, or distribution and infrastructure capabilities by banks. However, several major impediments inhibiting business relations between banks and FinTechs remain. We see both sides coming to the realisation of a new, mutually beneficial relationship that is possible, but it is still early in execution.Global fin tech survey_2016


Full survey available here.


ETFs: A roadmap to growth

We are pleased to share the perspectives we have gained in our 2nd Annual Global Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) survey entitled “ETFs: A roadmap to growth”. ETFs continue to dominate flows, setting a record US$351 billion in global flows for 2015.1 Regional ETF record flows were achieved in Europe and Canada, while the US and Asia regions approached nearrecord flows in 2015.2 Based on a variety of factors outlined in this publication, the survey participants expect even more ETF growth across North America, Europe and Asia, with global ETF assets expected to exceed US$7 trillion by 2021. Based on our Global ETF Growth Model, we agree with survey participants’ expectations.

For the Survey PwC questionned executives from approximately 60 firms around the world in 2015 using a combination of structured questionnaires and in-depth interviews. More than 70% of the participants were ETF managers or sponsors, with the remaining participants divided between asset managers not currently offering ETFs and service providers. Participating firms account for more than 80% of global ETF assets. We express our sincere thanks to those who participated in this Survey.

Access the full survey here.

FS-Talk: Regulation

Watch the first edition of our FS-Talk, our regular video series on current trends and topics. This episode covers the topic of regulation. Samuel Gerber from Finews interviews Dieter Wirth, Head Financial Services of PwC Switzerland.




Stay tuned for the next episode which will be released in just a few months!

If you´re interested in this topic or have any questions connected with it, please feel free to contact Dieter Wirth.

Fully automated off- shore tax reporting for your private clients in Europe

Banking clients’ needs, and as a result the requirements placed on banks, have changed in recent years. Country-specific tax reporting is becoming ever more important for banks’ cross-border services. In order for a tax statement to be able to be used to prepare a banking client’s personal tax return, these regulations needs to take into account how the different forms of income and assets are taxed in the client’s country. Only then can a tax statement provide added value for the client.

In order to offer Avaloq banks a unique and quality product in this field, PwC is working closely together with the IT experts at Confinale, with PwC bringing the tax knowledge and Confinale the IT knowledge. Together we have developed off-shore reporting functionalities, which are fully integrated into the Avalon Banking Suite, for all important client markets.

Read the full Report here.


Please contact with any question about the report Dieter Wirth or your previous contact at PwC.