F10 FinTech Incubator & Accelerator announces next selection of top-notch start-ups

For the third time since launching the scheme in September 2016, Switzerland’s leading FinTech space, F10 Incubator & Accelerator, has selected 15 promising new start-ups for its successful six-month “Prototype to Product (P2P)” program. Within the program the start-ups receive support and guidance in transforming their ideas into successful companies and in connecting with international finance organisations.

International start-up quality in Switzerland
The intense selection process for Batch III was again executed by founding member PwC Switzerland, together with its six fellow corporate partners SIX, Julius Bär, Generali Group Switzerland, Baloise Group, Zürcher Kantonalbank and Raiffeisen. Between September and December 2017 a total of 262 start-ups from over fifty countries worldwide applied for one of the coveted places in the upcoming program.

After an intensive five days, with 62 online interviews and two days of life pitches by the top 26 start-ups at the F10 facility in Zurich, the seven corporate partners agreed to officially invite the following 15 start-ups (including three corporate-internal teams) to the next Batch, starting on 5 March 2018:

  • Anansi insurance platform for high-growth SMEs with an international supply chain of physical goods
  • Baasis ID all-in-one identity verification (KYC) platform for FinTechs, crypto wallets and exchanges, and government agencies
  • BDEO streamlined operational processes for insurance claims for companies in Europe and South America
  • Borderless blockchain-powered international payment systems for businesses, governments and banks
  • C2SEC cyber risk analytics for insurance companies and enterprises
  • Dynametrics modernized credit processes for banks and credit institutions
  • eHyve centralised, consolidated financial overview for consumers
  • Qard data collection and insights for small online e-commerce
  • Luminant simplified reinsurance for the automotive insurance industry
  • Monday platform which enables small businesses to manage administrative tasks simply and efficiently
  • Safeside 3-click life insurance purchases for consumers
  • SIX IoT programmable eCommerce platform, neutral for suppliers, personalised for consumers
  • Susfinteq EU-China ESK risk assessment using AI for banks and financial institutions
  • Target Insights advanced analytics for wealth managers
  • Vestberry SaaS information management for the private equity industry

Involvement in the F10 FinTech Incubator & Accelerator is one of PwC Switzerland’s core initiatives to attract innovative and exciting new ideas to Zurich and the Swiss financial services industry. In these fast-changing, disruptive times, in which new business models are created and rolled out in ever shorter cycles, start-ups and their way of addressing challenges represent a source of inspiration no business should ignore. Active and close cooperation with these groups of entrepreneurs at an early stage enables PwC Switzerland not only to bring interesting, relevant ideas to our clients, but also ensures that our firm comes into contact with revolutionary technologies and stays ahead of the ongoing digital progress.

What it takes
Crucial for our selection is the start-up’s team and its configuration: a discordant team with the right idea will never succeed, but the right team, with an idea that is still developing and the right guidance, will achieve its objectives. A broad skillset, eagerness and willingness to accept advice or even pivot the idea if necessary, and the desire for a market-ready, adoptable solution: teams exhibiting these qualities are the ones we want to foster and support with our extensive industry and corporate knowledge.

PwC Digital has identified a number of potentially interesting solutions and great teams, which we intend to follow closely once the Batch starts in 2 weeks. We will introduce some of these start-ups and their ideas to you in more detail via this channel as the program evolves.

We are looking forward to an inspiring few months ahead and the delivery of exciting Minimal Viable Prototypes (MVPs) in August 2018.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our F10 mentors Frederik Gregaard or Sandro Tarchini.

About F10
Based in Zurich, the F10 accelerator program was established by SIX Group in 2015 to promote Switzerland’s FinTech ecosystem, strengthen the innovative capacity of the Swiss finance and insurance sectors, and forge global links. It has been designed for financial firms that want to reach the next level of innovation, providing access to the most promising international FinTech start-ups, radically new technologies and business models. In September 2016, PwC Switzerland and Bank Julius Bär became joint corporate founding members of the association, with the overarching objective of providing a lasting contribution to the development of a state-of-the-art, future-fit Swiss financial sector.

 

Contacts:

Frederik Gregaard
Head of the PwC Switzerland Digital Accelerator
+41 58 792 24 81
frederik.gregaard@ch.pwc.com

Sandro Tarchini
Advisory Consulting Digital
+41 58 792 23 49
sandro.tarchini@ch.pwc.com

Disclose 27, Focus piece 2: Report on the lodging and tourism industry

Disclose – PwC’s online magazine

«It takes people, digital technologies and trust to achieve top performance.»

Reading our latest issue of Disclose (disclose.pwc.ch/27/) you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush as we investigate a topic with particularly close connections to sport: high-performing organisations.

Focus piece 2 gives you an insight into the report on the lodging and tourism industry:

Despite the strong franc, Switzerland has been able to maintain its reputation as a top destination in recent years. But for how much longer? To satisfy the high expectations of their guests, tourism providers have to offer them a lot for their money. This calls for clearly positioned offerings and high-quality service. With well-trained staff, intelligent big data tools and smart cooperation, operators can provide people with authentic experiences and gain loyal customers and new market share in lucrative segments. To do this they need to aspire to perfection but at the same time be willing to accept that you can’t make every guest segment happy at the same time.

Read the full report here.

Contact

Nicolas Olivier Mayer
Partner, EMEA Industry Leader Lodging & Tourism, PwC Switzerland
nicolas.mayer@ch.pwc.com
Tel. +41 58 792 21 91

Disclose 27, Focus piece 1: High-Performing Teams

Disclose – PwC’s online magazine

«It takes people, digital technologies and trust to achieve top performance.»

Reading our latest issue of Disclose (disclose.pwc.ch/27/) you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush as we investigate a topic with particularly close connections to sport: high-performing organisations.

Focus piece 1 gives you an insight into the topic High-Performing Teams:

High-Performing Teams: Teams bring out the best in everyone

If you want to make the pace you have to set yourself high standards and give your very best performance. Many business leaders wonder if it’s possible to achieve this with their current crew. We believe it is. There’s more to a good team than the abilities of its individual members. By building trust, bringing people closer together, introducing and promoting a healthy culture of debate, and ensuring that everyone clearly recognises the common objective and the contribution they can make towards it, you can exploit this potential – and harness the power of high-performing teams for the benefit of your business.

Read more about the topic High-Performing Teams.

Contact

Charles Donkor
Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Schweiz
charles.donkor@ch.pwc.com
Tel. +41 58 792 45 54

Executive Compensation & Corporate Governance Insights – Part 3

In this third and final part of this year’s ExCo Insights, we discuss new methods of pay design and communication with shareholders (and we clarify some misunderstandings regarding established “best” practices). Moreover, we recommend that board members and executives take a broad view of governance matters. We offer the following “Rethinks”:

1. Compensation design is fraught with “best practice” approaches that are actually often not appropriate. Companies should recognise the drawbacks of popular high-powered incentive systems with caps, should reflect on possible unintended side effects of the apparently intuitive use of “relative performance evaluation” (RPE, such as benchmarking to indices), should be wary of the risk-taking incentives of currently fashionable performance shares, and should consider using debt to complement standard equity-based incentives. Simplification – for example, granting straight-up shares rather than complex instruments such as performance shares – also has important advantages.

2. Ongoing communication with shareholders throughout the year, not just ahead of the Annual General Meeting (AGM), is essential to build trust and understanding regarding a company’s specific situation. This is particularly important given that a company also has to deal with powerful proxy advisors who sometimes use checklists and policies that management may regard as inadequate in the context of the concrete challenges a company needs to solve with incentive systems and governance choices.

3. We introduce the 5 Rs of value generation through effective governance: Recruit (select and retain the right board members, executives and employees), Reward (design and live incentives), Report (engage in value reporting and communication), Realise (execute value generation), and Rethink (reflect critically on practice of all four of the other Rs). An effective board has a holistic view of all of these matters. The weakest link of these five elements will determine the overall performance of the company.

Read the ExCo Insights 2017 – Part 3

We look forward to engaging in dialogue with you.

Dr. Robert Kuipers
Partner People & Organisation PwC
+41 58 792 45 30
robert.kuipers@ch.pwc.com

Remo Schmid
Partner People & Organisation, PwC
+41 58 792 46 08
remo.schmid@ch.pwc.com

Executive Compensation & Corporate Governance Insights – Part 2

The first part of ExCo Insights 2017 summarised the key highlights for the largest 100 Swiss listed companies regarding the level of compensation of CEOs and other executives, as well as chairmen and other board members. Then, it studied the much-discussed differences between financial-services (FS) and nonfinancial- services (non-FS) companies – and unearthed some arguably surprising patterns. Specifically, the overall rise in executive compensation since 2009 has mostly been driven by non-FS companies rather than FS companies.

PwC’s ExCo Insights 2017, part 2 now focuses on pay-for-performance in Switzerland. For an overall assessment of this challenging topic, one has to consider multiple perspectives.
We hope that this analysis provides useful background and benchmark information as companies, boards, managers, and policymakers reflect on the adequacy of incentive systems in Swiss companies. Based on the results presented in this part 2, ExCo Insights 2017, part 3 will discuss new methods of pay design and will offer an analysis of the demands of shareholders in the upcoming annual general meeting season.

Read the ExCo Insights 2017 – Part 2

We look forward to engaging in dialogue with you.

Dr. Robert Kuipers
Partner People & Organisation PwC
+41 58 792 45 30
robert.kuipers@ch.pwc.com

Remo Schmid
Partner People & Organisation, PwC
+41 58 792 46 08
remo.schmid@ch.pwc.com

The ethics of pay - striking the proper balance

With growing wealth disparity around the world (the eight richest people are worth as much as half the world’s population) and the erosion of the wealth of many families, executive compensation has come under serious scrutiny. A recent study by PwC in partnership with the London School of Economics, “The ethics of pay in a fair society — What do executives think?”, looks at how executives around the world consider principles of distributive justice as they apply to compensation in their organizations and society.

The key challenge in distributive justice is that some of the basic principles of fairness are mutually incompatible. Consider principles based on need, equality and contribution, for example. Only in the truly exceptional case where all people have the same exact needs and have performed exactly the same will the principles agree. Thus, as the researchers argue, achieving complete perceived fairness is an impossible task. An encouraging result of the PwC study is that executives have views of fairness that acknowledge this conundrum. They tend to show the strongest support for four very different principles:

It seems rather than thinking the market should decide, or that pay systems should ensure that individuals be able to live a dignified life, executives believe compensation at the organizational and societal levels should incorporate elements of both. This is heartening because in the perfect world there should always be some balance. Contribution-based principles provide an incentive for performance, need-based principles ensure basic dignity is met for most people and equality-based principles ensure some sense of shared identity. The trick is to find the right balance.

The authors identify four groups of people, or “tribes”, that address this question of balance in different ways, giving greater weight to a one or two principles over the others; one intriguing result is that older people would rather have the market decide, while younger people prefer protection on basic needs and dignity in our compensation systems. Moreover, in the case of both companies and society, respondents generally believe that we are failing, not only to meet standards for equality of opportunity, but also to provide compensation sufficient for basic human needs and a sense of dignity.

Why should we care? Given the growing concern over inequality in the world, it is incumbent upon us to create systems that ensure market success and performance for our firms, but also remember the lessons of Louis XVI and the Romanovs. If key principles of fairness are not met, societies tend to crumble and those on top find themselves in unhappy circumstances. As Will and Ariel Durant noted, when such an imbalance has existed historically, we’ve seen a correction either through “legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty”.

Read more

Contacts

Dr. Robert Kuipers
Partner People & Organisation PwC
+41 58 792 45 30
robert.kuipers@ch.pwc.com

Remo Schmid
Partner People & Organisation, PwC
+41 58 792 46 08
remo.schmid@ch.pwc.com

 

SECO directive on intra-group staff leasing: how does it affect companies from a global mobility perspective?

Read a related article

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has published a new directive concerning intra-group staff leasing. The new directive states that staff leasing within a group of companies also falls under the federal law on recruitment and staff lending (AVG, LSE, LC) and is no longer automatically exempt from these regulations. The law restricts staff lending, forbids it in some cases, declares others permission free, and subjects it to authorisation or a staff lending licence in certain situations.

These restrictions affect companies operating globally in a variety of ways, depending on how they are set up with regard to their international workforce. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the new directive. Some of the initial reactions to the new directive suggest that companies are extremely concerned that they will no longer be able to bring in the staff they need for their business. However, a closer look at the directive paints another picture. There are still categories of permissible secondments. For most companies these will cover the majority of cases. The attached set of slides will shed some light on the global mobility side of the SECO directive and the possible action points.

Read More

Contact

Ingo Heymanns
Senior Manager
Tel. +41 58 792 45 43
E-mail: ingo.heymanns@ch.pwc.com

Intragroup staff leasing

Read a related article

In June of this year, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) issued a new directive on the permissibility of intragroup staff leasing. It clarified that intragroup staff leasing also generally requires the relevant licences – contrary to a previous directive dating back to 2003. To fully understand its impact, it is necessary to be familiar with the legal concept of staff leasing. Below, we will therefore provide you with more information on staff leasing in general before focusing on intragroup staff leasing, and on crossborder staff leasing in particular. To conclude, we will give our views on the consequences of the new SECO directive.

Read More

Contacts

Legal/Immigration
Christine Bassanello
christine.bassanello@ch.pwc.com
Tel. +41 58 792 51 21

Immigration
Mirela Stoia
mirela.stoia@ch.pwc.com
Tel. +41 58 792 91 16

Global Mobility
Ingo Heymanns
ingo.heymanns@ch.pwc.com
Tel. +41 58 792 45 43

Executive Compensation & Corporate Governance Insights – Part 1

Do you have an opinion on executive pay? Everyone else does! The debate is emotionally charged, but how well informed is it? Every year, PwC endeavours to fuel a better-founded conversation by presenting one of the most detailed studies of board and executive remuneration in Switzerland. Next out is the eleventh edition of Executive Compensation & Corporate Governance Insights, covering the largest listed Swiss companies from 2007 to 2016.

Our research is designed to inform and stimulate dialogue on the hot issue of top management pay. It shows how pay levels have developed over time, how they compare between industries, where trends in pay structure are headed, and whether there’s a connection between pay and performance. It gives insights into the performance criteria that are relevant for determining pay, and how companies can best communicate these issues with shareholders, employees, the media and society at large.

This year’s outcomes are being issued in a number of shorter Insights 2017 releases. Each focuses on a specific issue, though we invite you to read them together to get a unique breadth of perspective. Please note that the longer studies from prior years remain available online.

Insights 2017, part 1 (released October 2017):
The level of compensation of CEOs, other executives and chairs and other board members at Swiss listed companies: valuable insights for board members and executives seeking the right quantum of compensation.

Insights 2017, part 2 (November 2017):
Do Swiss executives get paid for performance? Insights to help board members and executives benchmark the situation in their own companies.

Insights 2017, part 3 (December 2017):
New methods of pay design and an analysis of the demands of shareholders in the upcoming annual general meeting season: analysis to help companies prepare for communication with shareholders.

 

 

 

 

 

We look forward to engaging in dialogue with you.

Dr. Robert W. Kuipers
Partner People & Organisation, PwC
+41 58 792 45 30
robert.kuipers@ch.pwc.com

Remo Schmid
Partner People & Organisation, PwC
+41 58 792 46 08
remo.schmid@ch.pwc.com

Inclusion and Diversity – how employee benefits can show you mean what you say

Diversity and inclusion is in the headlines. Boardroom representation, unconscious gender bias and equal pay are big news on the business pages. So what is diversity and inclusion (D&I)? Diversity is about all the ways we are different, our uniqueness. Inclusion is being valued for this difference. To put it simply, diversity is about being invited to the party, inclusion is about being allowed to dance.

Research shows that having a diverse and inclusive workforce improves business performance and is crucial to attracting talents. For businesses it also means you’re echoing your (diverse) customer base. Many of the best innovations have been shown to come from leveraging the organisation’s diverse employee base to generate ideas that reflect the diverse market place of today and most importantly tomorrow.

1 Source: Harvard Business Review, “How Diversity Can Drive Innovation”, December 2013
2 Source: PwC, 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, 2015
3 Source: PwC, The Female Millennial, 2016

What does this mean for HR?

HR have a key role to play in this area, both as an enabler for the CEO’s agenda, and as the organisation’s ambassador against reputation damage inside and outside the business. HR are best placed to understand the different needs of a diverse population of employees, and execute the changes needed to foster an inclusive workplace.

What are those needs? It’s recognising “one size does not fit all”, particularly when it comes to policies and benefits. Some employees value career progression, others focus on wages, while many will want to understand the flexible benefit arrangements offered. How you provide for these diverse needs affects both the talent that you want to retain within your organisation and the employer brand to prospective talents.

We were recently asked: What does diversity and inclusion mean for the benefits we offer employees? Benefits can be grouped as “intangible” benefits, which have an unclear cost and benefit, but can be highly valued, and traditional employee benefits like retirement, insurances and other offers. Both can play a big part in fostering diversity and inclusion. The design of benefit packages and offers can incentivise and support the change we want to see in our workforce whether this is ensuring our pension plans accept same-sex partnerships, flexibility around religious holidays or even allowing adoption leave.

Intangible benefits – hidden value?

Each employee will value intangible benefits very differently, some seeing no real value while others may see this as key when choosing an employer. Many employers forget that intangible benefits can have the biggest value to employees, but at the lowest cost. And these benefits can be essential to a diverse workforce. Here are some examples:

  • Flexible working culture – What is your policy on working from home? How do you ensure that technology is up to speed to allow mobile working? What is the dress code? For example, are shorts allowed in summer time? Offering flexibility in how and when people work has been shown to boost employee engagement and is critical to meeting the needs of a diverse workforce. Are you looking at that?
  • Wellness – Healthier people perform better, cost less and cause fewer risks to the organisation. Physical health initiatives are already common place. The next wave is financial wellness. Some employers are looking to help employees manage their financials. A healthy employee with a mind free of financial stress is more engaged and more innovative.
  • Career progression – Lack of career progression opportunities is a key reason why some leave their jobs. Solely throwing pay at employees is not the answer, supporting career progression by being transparent about job opportunities, providing role models and mentoring is. To support diversity, you need to offer the right types of training alongside mentoring support, sometimes targeted at minority groups.

Traditional benefits – supporting and protecting the message

Traditional employee benefits can also impact the diversity and inclusion agenda:

  • Supporting and enabling the diversity agenda – Our benefit package can back up what we say. If we say we are a diverse employer, our benefit packages must be diverse too. Flexibility and choice is the natural ally of D&I, whether this is different levels of pension contributions, opt in/out insurance policies or buying or selling extra holidays.
  • Eroding the message – Good work on diversity and inclusion can be undone by benefits that do not align with diversity. If we only give employees leave when their child is born, but not when they adopt a child, what message does this send? Getting design wrong may turn our messages upside down.

What can you do about it?

We see two obvious steps to take:

  • Analyse and diagnose what you do today – Do your benefits, both intangible and traditional, support the diversity and inclusion agenda of the organisation? As well as a deep dive into the terms and conditions around your benefits, you may also need to analyse outcomes and how these look for different social groups.
  • Communicate and engage – Engaging employees on this is one way to show how important you see this topic. Communicate what you’ve found and get feedback on what employees themselves value. You may find low-cost options with high value to employees. Employee surveys can help, but simple direct engagement may be more valuable.

Not just buzzwords

Diversity and inclusion are not just new “buzzwords”. The workforce and customer base will continue to become even more diverse. Legislation, such as equal salary legislation, will force companies to ensure they are treating people fairly and equally. Getting your benefit packages right is one way to both enhance and support the diversity and inclusion agenda. Time to get on the dancefloor.

Contact

Adrian Jones
Director, People and Organisation
Tel: +41 58 792 4013
adrian.jones@ch.pwc.com

Sue Johnson
Senior Manager, People and Organisation
Tel. +41 58 792 90 98
sue.johnson@ch.pwc.com