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.

Blockchain: The $5 billion opportunity for reinsurers

Reinsurance industry could save $5 billion with blockchain

Reinsurers are in line to build some of the biggest blockchain applications outside the payments sector with the potential to save $5-10 billion in costs, says a new report from PwC.

PwC’s report shows that blockchain has huge potential to transform the reinsurance industry, given the amount of data flowing between clients, brokers, reinsurers and outsource service providers. PwC estimates that, by simplifying reconciliation and multiple data entries, blockchain solutions could remove 15-20% of expenses from the reinsurance industry, delivering $5-10 billion of savings.

The report shows that blockchain technology can speed up claims processing verification. It can also allow primary insurers to cede/ retrocede risk using an application specifically designed to process treaties, notify all parties and process premium and commission payments.

Potential wins from blockchain in reinsurance:

  • Processing – using blockchain to remove task duplication and multiple rekeying of data
  • New business – the industry has already seen pilots in the catastrophe swap market and PwC expects blockchain to support entry into new markets and products
  • Transparency – if all underlying risks are on a blockchain, the reinsurer can more accurately identify and quantify the risks that are to be protected by reinsurance. Effectively information on the underlying risks can be aggregated onto a reinsurance blockchain so all information, documents and transactions flow into the contract.PwC has been working on a number of proof of concept applications to demonstrate the potential for blockchain within insurance and reinsurance and how the technology could be applied in practice. We believe it’s important to show that blockchain applications not only work but provide the right solutions to important business problems.

Stephen O’Hearn, PwC’s global insurance leader, commented:
“Blockchain technology is still a new and uncertain area for reinsurers but those who are able to quickly build, assess and refine their applications will differentiate themselves. At a time when companies are searching for cost savings, the potential of blockchain to vastly improve efficiency and accuracy cannot be ignored.”

Download the full Report here.

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.

The Digital Healthcare Leap

New digital health models could help emerging markets leapfrog established markets

Healthcare providers need to embrace digital or risk being left behind

Analysis by PwC on digital health in the emerging markets finds that while traditional digital health models are often too expensive to implement, new more affordable digital healthcare models are disrupting emerging markets which have the potential to give these healthcare systems improved accessibility, safety and quality care.

The digital healthcare Dilemma

Expenditure on healthcare is increasing exponentially in emerging markets (see figure 1). As incomes are rising and the middle class is growing, people are spending more on healthcare and demanding better services. Consumers are no longer passive patients, but have become engaged, with access to new tools and better information. As lifestyles are changing and people are living longer, the emerging markets are witnessing a shift from communicable to chronic disease such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.


This is causing increasing strain on health systems in the emerging markets, which already face the challenge of underdeveloped infrastructure and an acute shortage of resources.

The shift from traditional to new digital health Solutions

Traditional digital health solutions such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) – which are popular in the developed markets – require a huge up-front cost to purchase, install and maintain. Adoption in the emerging markets has therefore been low.

But new, non-traditional solutions such as cloud-based or open-source EHR can help emerging markets digitise at a fraction of the cost. For best outcomes, other healthcare innovations such as telemedicine, mHealth applications and e-prescriptions will be built around the EHR.

Says David McKeering, Partner, PwC South East Asia Consulting:

“Digital health can dramatically improve an organisation’s productivity and, in turn, provide benefits in both patient outcomes and the bottom line. If the costs can be made affordable, digital health could be an answer to the emerging markets’ challenge to achieve sustainable growth and leapfrog the developed nations to provide quality, affordable, universal and patient-centric care. The good news is that new affordable solutions are coming to the market. And with internet and smartphone penetration growing, the existing technology infrastructure could be used to develop innovative solutions to deliver healthcare services.”

Some examples can already be seen in several emerging markets. The Philippines has implemented an open source electronic medical record system for government health facilities called CHITS. And there is strong support for healthcare cloud systems from both public and private hospitals in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Says David Wijeratne, PwC Growth Markets Centre Leader:

“The benefits of digital healthcare can be felt beyond patients. By assisting the prevention of illness and supporting the provision of care through alternative locations such as clinics, fewer new doctors and nurses will need to be trained and fewer additional beds and hospitals created, which can help to reduce the overall financial healthcare burden on governments in emerging markets, enabling them to fund other key areas of the economy. A whole nation benefits from digital healthcare.”

The challenge for healthcare Providers

‘Digital healthcare’ is not about the technologies, it’s about new ways of solving healthcare problems, creating unique experiences for patients and accelerating healthcare providers’ growth.

One thing is clear: digital is here to stay – and if healthcare providers are not prepared, they may be left behind. Says David McKeering, Partner, PwC South East Asia Consulting:

“Hospitals and healthcare providers that fail to adapt will risk declining revenues as consumers turn elsewhere to have their health needs met. They should look at how they will integrate and connect their existing systems with new digital technologies and merge the data locked inside them to generate meaningful, actionable insights for caregivers. In the new digital health era, digitally-enabled care is no longer going to be a nice-to-have, but rather a fundamental business imperative.”

Developed countries can learn from advancements in digital healthcare in emerging countries. Says Rodolfo Gerber, Partner, PwC Switzerland:

“Trends and experiences in digital healthcare in the emerging countries might give interesting hints and learning points for the healthcare system in developed countries. They can benefit from these learning points, as how to implement robust digital solutions for building an integrated healthcare information chain for all  parties involved.”

To succeed, healthcare providers and administrators need to set strategies that harness technology for mutual interests and mutual gain as they build care delivery models with patients – not patient encounters – at their centre.

The companies that will emerge as winners in this new marketplace will be those that can articulate how technology can add value, align incentives, strategically share and analyse data, and redeploy, extend and expand their workforce to embrace digital enablers.

A copy of the report ‘The Digital Healthcare Leap’ can be downloaded here.

Tech breakthroughs megatrend: how to prepare for its impact

With an ever growing number of technological breakthroughs disrupting businesses of all kinds, PwC understands companies need help developing their emerging technology strategies to get ahead of the changes. In our new report, Tech breakthroughs megatrend: how to prepare for its impact, we evaluated more than 150 technologies globally and developed a methodology for identifying those, which are most pertinent to individual companies and whole industries.


Sharing this guide to the “Essential Eight” technologies, which PwC believes will be the most influential on businesses worldwide in the very near future: Artificial intelligence, Augmented reality, Blockchain, Drones, Internet of Things, Robots, Virtual reality, and 3D printing. While not all of these technologies will have the same impact on your business, it’s important to consider the range of technologies together, because they will inevitably drive business models in both beneficial and quite challenging ways.

Download the full report here.

If you have any further questions please contact us:
Holger Greif, Digital Transformation Leader
Reto Häni, Cybersecurity Leader
Axel Timm, Technology Leader
Christian Westermann, Data Analytics Leader

Benefits management – more than a mere buzzword in today’s demanding and changing business environment?

Embracing the need for change is only half the battle. Securing long-term success hinges on understanding the outcome of transformation programmes and getting the most out of what has been achieved. Although wrongly dismissed by some as a mere buzzword, benefits management is in fact of pivotal importance in properly harnessing results and exploiting their potential to the full.

Read more…

PwC’s Sports Survey 2016

As the sports industry continues to navigate choppy waters, its ongoing growth is becoming increasingly dependent on its ability to adapt to the global megatrends that are shaping business decisions around the world.

In order to gauge the mood among leading international sports federation executives, we conducted a survey that assesses the extent to which demographic and social change, shifts in global economic power and technological advances are affecting decision-making in the sports industry.

The key findings of the survey include the fact that leading sports executives remain largely optimistic in the face of the many threats faced by the sports industry, are increasingly investing in digital solutions, and see the Asia Pacific region as the industry’s priority growth area.

CaptureSportFor more information, the full set of findings of the survey and the insights that we were able to derive from them are summarized and accessible in our report, entitled PwC’s Sports Survey 2016.

On Passion and Robots

My overall ambition is to help people and organizations to reach their full potential. I believe that technology is an important aspect for that and I am passionate about security and privacy and how they play a crucial role in determining if and how we can take advantage of the seemingly endless potential of technology. But I also ask myself what the consequences of this technology is. It is visible already today that in the close future we will face a massive change in society. Entire job categories will disappear and robots (mostly software based) will take over many of today’s jobs. Take the transportation industry for example. While Tesla’s “autopilot” clearly still has it’s challenges in a couple of years cars, trucks and buses will be able to drive autonomous. What happens then to all the cab and truck drivers that are on our streets on a daily basis? And that is only the beginning. More and more sophisticated tasks will be done by Artificial Intelligence AI.

What does that mean for people that are studying or thinking about what kind of job should be in their future or where they should develop professionally? Is it physics, chemistry, sport or rather social studies or… How does one choose today a field so that chances are good that robots aren’t replacing you shortly out of university? It is an important subject as not everything that technology will bring will be good for everybody. The answer to this question is not easy as our understanding today is very limited what impact AI robots will have on our lives. But some aspects are in my view clearer than others and might be a start.

The first point where we can differentiate us from bots are morals, values and ethics. Our personalities can make a difference and I see that as a clear advantage over machines or for that matter towards other people as we will not just be competing against bots but against a relatively larger workforce for fewer jobs. While we can program behavior rules I don’t believe (or maybe hope) that we will achieve developing a moral artificial intelligence.

Second, what differentiates us are emotions. To be able and willing to show and feel passion and feeling for other people. Think about it as mentally or physically giving somebody a hug. Not everything happens at an intellectual level and looking ahead I believe that compassion will become again more important. Especially as in many places it seemed to have gotten lost.

The third element is creativity. Bots already today write short stories but creativity is something that I believe (or again maybe hope) is beyond programming. Be able to tell a story will be something that stays human still for a long time.

The fourth aspect is to solve new and hard challenges. I don’t believe that robots will be able to solve the really hard questions in the foreseeable future. To systematically and more important intuitively draw conclusions, to listen to a feeling/intuition and follow it up to find the solution to a hard problem. To have a dream and suddenly things fall into place in a way that one has not foreseen. To run through a massive amount of permutations is what computers do best but to see connections that are not clearly visible and be courageous to try out and find new paths is where humans shine.

And the final thought but maybe the most important is passion in what you do and to challenge, enable and inspire others. If you truly want to make a difference then finding out what you do with a passion is the best way to show that you are making a difference. There are the people that are lucky to already know from very early on where their passion is and what they want to do and then there are the majority where it takes longer to find out. Too many though give up in that process and focus on doing what gets them through the day. But will that be enough in the future? I fear not. And with inspiring and enabling others brings the possibility to act as a multiplier for all aspects above and with that truly solve the important problems together.

So if you make a choice in what to do and in what direction to evolve wherever you are in your career stage – take into account the rapidly changing technology and that robots are advancing. Focus on the things that are hard and that not everybody can do, be passionate about it and don’t forget about empathy and caring about people. Then I am convinced that you are successful also in a world where robots are everywhere.

If you have any questions or you wanna know more, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Data privacy in the EU: What is the latest news?

The EU/US Privacy Shield is formally adopted

More than nine months after the Court of Justice of the European Union invalidated Safe Harbor the EU/US Privacy Shield is approved. From 1 August 2016 onward European companies seeking to transfer data to the United States will be able to self-certify to the Privacy Shield programme.

What are the main differences?

The Privacy Shield contains detailed requirements for US organisations to safeguard EU residents’ personal data. To join the programme, US organisation must meet four requirements: (i) the organisation must fall under the enforcement authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or another US agency that can assure compliance; (ii) it must publish its commitment to comply with the Privacy Shield Principles; (iii) it must publicly disclose its data protection policy; and (iv) it must implement the Principles. Most of the Privacy Shield Principles were already included into the Safe Harbor framework. However, some of the Principles have been enhanced, making the Privacy Shield stronger than Safe Harbor. Relevant differences of the Privacy Shield to the former Safe Harbor are e.g.:

  • stronger obligations for US companies to protect the transferred personal data (e.g. data integrity and purpose limitation principle, accountability for onwards transfer principle) including stronger monitoring by the US Department of Commerce and FTC whether companies are fulfilling the obligations,
  • written commitments by the United States to prevent generalised access to personal data, and
  • the formation of an office of ombudsman in the United States who will handle and solve complaints raised by affected EU individuals.

The Privacy Shield produces many critics mainly stating that the programme is not able to protect the transferred personal data from the United States government’s mass surveillance, which was one of the reasons of the European Court of Justice to invalidate Safe Harbor. One of the new additions includes in fact an authority (ombudsman) to handle any claims by EU citizens over surveillance or data privacy abuse. But criticizers of Privacy Shield consider these new provisions as not addressing the surveillance in any significant way. Thus, there is a chance the Privacy Shield programme will endure the same fate as the Safe Harbor framework.

Further developments

Schrems vs Facebook – take 2

Ireland’s data protection commissioner announced in May 2016 that they will continue to investigate Max Schrems’ complaint as to whether the EU Standard Contractual Clauses remain a valid data transfer mechanism to the United States. Thus, the commissioner’s intention is to seek declaratory relief in the Irish High Court and a referral to the European Court of Justice to determine the legal status of data transfers under Standard Contractual Clauses.

“Microsoft Ireland case”

Recently, Microsoft won a legal case, where the United States Court of Appeals has ruled that Microsoft cannot be forced by the United States government to hand over emails stored on Microsoft servers outside the United States. Thus, the data stored in Microsoft’s EU data centre in Ireland are safe from a search warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA).


The EU/US Privacy Shield can be used in the EU as a legal basis to transfer personal data to the United States beginning from this August 2016. However, it is recommended to monitor the development in the data protection area by affected companies, since the Privacy Shield might be ruled invalid as well and even the future of Standard Contractual Clauses remains unclear.

What does it mean for Switzerland?

Many Swiss organisations are reliant on transferring personal data to the United States. With the EU/US Privacy Shield the data protection level for transatlantic data transfers is improved, so it is desirable that Switzerland and the United States come to an agreement about a successor of the Safe Harbor framework comparable to the Privacy Shield. It is expected that the Swiss authorities will negotiate a similar programme covering the data transfer between Switzerland and the United States in the near future.


Susanne Hofmann, Legal Compliance Leader Switzerland,, +41 58 792 17 12

Marco Schurtenberger, Specialist Cyber security & IT compliance,, +41 58 792 22 33