Welcome to the research platform Redesigning Financial Services. Founded in 2016, we are an interdisciplinary think tank dedicated to understanding the next evolution in financial services. Our platform is based on the premise that a focus on consumer behavior is key to thriving in fast-moving, complex environments.

  • Our mission

    A digital wave is changing financial services for the better. Technological advances are enabling new business models while millennials are demanding a new user experience. This dynamic environment offers both risks and many opportunities for all actors in financial services.

    It is in this context that our research platform seeks to help financial service providers navigate the digital revolution in financial services. We do this by virtue of building an interdisciplinary “knowledge network”, offering tailored analyses with a focus on customer experiences, and designing effective interventions to transfer insight into impact.


    Build an open, international “knowledge network” to shape the future of the financial services sector with a deep commitment to tracking customer preferences - and how customers respond to new technologies


    • Identify disruptive innovations

    • Measure and anticipate impact on customer behavior and beyond

    • Recommend ways in which incumbents can thrive

    Two step approach

    Think tank

    • Combining the interdisciplinary expertise from HSG, EY and ETH

    • Clear focus on customer journey

    • Identify new technology, anticipate new trends, and measure impact

    Financial innovation lab (+18m)

    • A physical lab designed to spur fresh thinking on user experience

    • Used for testing new products and services with real users recreating real-life scenarios

  • Our values

    Customer first

    We start with human experience in mind, and work backwards from there. We see the user experience as central to understanding the next evolution in finance.

    Embrace change

    We are open to challenging the status quo and we judge ideas by their merit, not by their author. We encourage and active exchange of ideas and believe an open, honest discourse is the best way shape real progress.

    The power of purpose

    We believe our work is relevant and offers a valuable contributions to re-shaping the next evolution in financial services- with the goal of ultimately improving the service to the end customer. This purpose also inspires us to deliver great results.

    Respect and humility

    We are committed to a culture of respect and humility, because we believe that fresh thinking and real progress occur when we interact with respect and humility. We elevate one another and nurture an positive environment, one in which all of our partners can thrive.

    Experiment, but don`t burn the lab

    In our quest for useful insight, we rely on focused and iterative experimentation. We think big, we are not afraid to fail(fast), and we learn from each experiment.

    Stay curious and share

    We`re hungry to learn and eager to share our insights. We share what we know because we believe that our insights make a contribution to improving the customer experience in the next evolution of finance.

What we do

A unique network, tailored analyses, and a customer-focused transfer of knowledge

Knowledge network

We activate the swarm-intelligence of a unique network of experts from finance, technology, consulting, academia and FinTech.
Access to this interdisciplinary platform offers our partners a unique outside-inside perspective.

Tailored analyses

We offer regular and on-demand analyses around 8 dedicated research clusters, aiming to identify disruptive innovations, measure & anticipate their impact on customer behaviour, and recommend ways in which these insights can be transferred into business impact.
The goal of our analyses is to offer our partners new actionable insights that can sharpen their value proposition to their clients

Knowledge transfer

We transfer key insights by virtue of publications, presentations, events, workshops, and other new media channels.

Co-investment opportunity

Opportunity to co-invest in established start-ups with scalable concepts, thus receiving valuable insights about the transformation process and supporting the Swiss start-up space - without making any direct investments.

Customer insight lab

A physical lab designed to spur fresh thinking on how people interact with money, testing new products and services with real users. The co-working lab will feature exhibitions for the public - and can host client events.

Founding members

University of St. Gallen

Members University
  • Top business faculties: 1st German-speaking university (Handelsblatt ranking 2015)

  • Top european business schools: 4th in Europe (Financial Times ranking 2015)

  • Masters in management: 1st globally (Financial Times ranking 2015)

Expertise in consumer research:

  • Internationally acclaimed institute with a focus on consumer behavior

  • Large research partnerships with leading firms like Audi, Swisscom, Roche, SAP, BMW, Credit Suisse, etc.

  • Projects focus on “cutting edge” themes with a high degree of empirical rigor and business relevance.

EY Switzerland

Members ey
  • Thought leader: in the Swiss financial services sector

  • Shaping the innovation agenda in the financial services industry

  • Broad expertise: 46’000 specialists focusing on the financial services sector

Expertise in business transformation:

  • Recognized partner for multidisciplinary business transformation in new realities

  • Thought leader in digitalization and founding member of Digital Switzerland

  • Strong local & global connectivity within the financial industry

ETH Zurich

Members Eth
  • Top world universities: 9th in the world (Time Higher Education ranking 2015)

  • Top world universities: 9th globally (QS ranking 2015)

  • Top world universities: 20th globally (Academic Ranking of World Universities 2015)

Expertise in technology innovation:

  • Leading institute with a focus on the management and use of new technologies.

  • Dozens of industry partnerships with the goal of transferring research results into practice.

  • Strong international collaboration in the scientific as well as in the management community.


Ernst Mohr

Ernst Mohr, HSG

Toepfer Olaf

Olaf Toepfer, EY

Nova Karlo

Karlo Novak, EY

Robert Ruttmann, HSG

Jacqueline Leichsering, EY

Luting Ye, HSG

Florian von Wangenheim

Florian von Wangenheim, ETH

Research Clusters

Payment systems

Incumbent banks typically earn income from payment processing services and help merchants set up payment systems. Fintechs are offering simpler, faster and more innovative payment solutions – with nearly half of all Fintechs focusing on payments. New consumer functionalities are transforming the way customers interact with their banks.

Key trends
  • Less control over customer experience: banks may lose control over their customers’ transaction experience as digital wallets consolidate digital payment platforms

  • Customer targeting: leveraging data on specific customer segments will become an essential component of strategies to gain a dominant share of wallet.

  • Merchant relationships: banks’ ability to partner with merchants will become critical.

Key questions
  • How will customer behavior change in an increasingly cashless world?

  • How will issuers create differentiated customer experience when their control over customer experience is taken over by digital payment platforms?


Credit & lending is a fundamental business for incumbent banks. All traditional segments in lending are under pressure from Fintechs simplifying and expanding the lending process. Alternative funding platforms are transforming credit evaluation and loan origination – and offering consumers & businesses access to non-traditional sources of capital.

Key trends
  • Erosion of deposits and investment products: as savers use alternative lending platforms as investment vehicles, market share erosion will occur for banks

  • Distributed credit: customers’ credit portfolios could become distributed over a number of platforms, making it difficult to measure customers’ creditworthiness

  • Integrated partnerships: traditional institutions could also transform their processes and technologies, potentially absorbing alternative platforms to adopt the new models.

Key questions
  • What will be the future role of financial institutions in response to continually shifting customer preferences?

  • How will retail banks continue to maintain their ability to serve lending needs of customers as the erosion of deposits leads to shrinking balance sheets?


The greatest potential for cryptocurrencies is to radically streamline money’s function as a transfer of value – via decentralized currencies & mobile solutions. As such, the current value transfer system built on automated clearing houses and intermediary banks could be threatened in time. The future is set to be faster, cheaper and more transparent.

Key trends
  • Market share loss: the role of traditional intermediaries as a trusted party may diminish.

  • Lower margins: alternative payment networks may drive down margins of incumbents.

  • Vast applications: Applications of these technologies can expand beyond money transfer to modernize other financial infrastructures.

  • New risks: new players may face new sets of risks (e.g. reputation, security).

Key questions
  • How will decentralized payment schemes change the role of financial institutions?

  • Can the applications of these technologies by expanded beyond money transfer to modernize other financial infrastructures? If so, which ones?


The wealth management industry is also challenged by a number of disrupting trends – from automated services at lower costs and higher customization potential to customer empowerment tools like social trading platforms and the banking-as-a-platform movement. These developments risk commoditizing traditionally high value services at a time when customer expectations of personalization, efficiency and lower costs continue to grow

Key trends
  • Increased competition, lower advantages of scale: competition will increase further as manual processes are automated, virtual channels are utilized, and core infrastructure is less costly. These trends will erode margins and advantages of scale for established players.

  • Lower margins: alternative payment networks may drive down margins of incumbents.

  • Decoupling of advisory and products: more advisory functions become automated, distributing wealth products via proprietary advisory channels

  • Importance of brand and trust: as competition intensifies, the role of in-person managers and traditional institutions’ brand and customer trust will become more critical.

Key questions
  • How will retail financial institutions prevent the erosion of deposits to new wealth products that now offer lower threshold for entry?

  • What are the differentiated services provided by traditional wealth managers that will remain difficult to automate and replicate by new entrants?


Many financial assets remain dependent on intermediating institutions to connect buyers and sellers. However, many new platforms have emerged that redefine how buyers and sellers are connected, allowing demand (borrowers) and supply (lenders) to be more readily and objectively “discovered” by counterparties. These platforms are levelling the playing field, making markets more liquid, accessible and efficient.

Key trends
  • Pressure to differentiate offering: as the ability to fulfill customer transaction needs is commoditized, financial intermediaries face more pressure to differentiate their offering.

  • Negotiating power diffused: with both counterparties gaining improved transparency into market demand and supply, pricing can become more efficient.

  • Growing importance of advisory: As the counterparty discovery and negotiation process becomes standardized, intermediaries’ ability to effectively advise the client will be key.

Key questions
  • What value will intermediaries offer HNWIs to prevent the erosion of their businesses by direct access to counterparties via market connection platforms?

  • How will intermediaries differentiate from one another as improved information flow and trading connections standardize the process of finding counterparties for their clients?


RegTech refers to the convergence of software technology and regulation. As regulatory expectations rise and the focus on data grows, RegTech software solutions allow incumbents to automate many outdated compliance and due diligence tasks, using data that can be tailored to a firm’s risk-based approach. RegTech also focuses on addressing the gap in the market created by the speedy, disruptive forces of the FinTech sector.

Key trends
  • Rapid response to new regulations: RegTech addresses the gap in the market created by the speedy, disruptive forces of the FinTech sector

  • Massive efficiency gains: The wave of regulatory automation is likely to bring more agility, speed, integration and advanced analytics into existing processes. This will limit the need to manually execute of tasks

  • Mass customization: Ability to customize the regulatory and due diligence approach for a firm’s risk-based approach.

Key questions
  • Which areas promise the most potential for efficiency wins with respect to RegTech?

  • Can RegTech softwares use social media and biometrics to transform how customer due diligence is done?


A number of emerging forces are standardizing and commoditizing individual risks, which will drive insurers to undertake structural changes in their strategies. Meanwhile, the ubiquity of connected devices offers the potential for insurers to highly personalize insurance and proactively manage individual client risk.

Key trends
  • Reduced customer stickiness: As insurers’ relationship with customers is further disaggregated and personal lines products further commoditized, customer loyalty will become increasingly difficult to achieve.

  • Self-insurance models: Revenue for the insurance industry will be reduced as the selfinsurance models (e.g. autonomous driving, sharing economy) gain scale.

  • Real-time data and analytics: Insurers’ ability to gather and analyze real-time data will become key to unleashing the potential of connected insurance models.

Key questions
  • How can insurers cooperate with the self-insuring agents of commoditizing forces in response to the erosion of the premium base?

  • How will insurers create customer loyalty as the insurance products become increasingly commoditized and digital entrants disaggregate the customer relationship?


Private capital has always been a powerful tool for helping to solve humanity’s greatest challenges. In efforts to unlock larger amounts of the USD 100 trillion worth of private capital for social impact, a group of investors coined the term “impact investing”. Traditionally, access to such investments offering a large social return with a moderate financial return has been limited to HNWIs and foundations, but new financial innovations are widening access to investors, thus enriching the impact investing ecosystem

Key trends
  • Funding for social projects: funding to purposeful projects with high social return that would not be properly served by the traditional ecosystem

  • Access: Retail and institutional investors could get access to investment opportunities that meet triple bottom line returns.

  • Identification with investment: The ability for investors to closely identify with their investments and their intermediary.

Key questions
  • As crowdfunding platforms widen access to capital raising activities for impact investment projects, what role can intermediaries play?

  • As more individual investors get involved in funding decisions, the business’ prospects will be tested from multiple perspectives. Can this “wisdom-of-the-crowd-effect” improve the accuracy of overall investment decisions?

I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better.

Elon Musk

Founder of PayPal


Der Uber-Moment im Bankenwesen

Robert Ruttman & Ernst Mohr, NZZ, 03.11.2016

Die Fintech-Revolution befördert den Konsumenten ins Zentrum des Finanzwesens.


PDF File

Das Smartphone als Portemonnaie

NZZ Online, 22.10.2016

Tageskarte für das Tram, Supermarkteinkauf oder Restaurantbesuch – fast überall kann man mit dem Smartphone zahlen. Und was soll das bringen?


PDF File

News Title


Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.


News Title


Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.



publications img

Wealth Advice - Edition 01/2017


This first publication on the Wealth Advice cluster entitled "Is wealth management experiencing its “Kodak moment”?" is the first in a series of publications that serve to share knowledge and help accelerate the structural change taking place in the industry.

Download the report

publications img

Redesigning Financial Services - Booklet


This booklet gives a short introduction into the RFS project, its goals and its research clusters.

Download PDF


Social Media

We are currently setting up profiles on social media.

Links coming soon…

If banks don`t change,
we will change banks.

Jack Ma

CEO Alibaba


pin icon

Feel free to contact us: