Marta Ra: Moments of Trust

Interview: Sandra-Stella Triebl

Ladies Drive Magazine No 64 - Marta Ra
The banking industry in a generational change.

Dr. Marta Ra has worked in the financial industry for over 14 years and has therefore experienced quite a few storms. She started her career at Morgan Stanley in Wealth Management, then moved to Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, and Globalance Bank. Shortly before the pandemic, she changed industries and became CEO of the Swiss Luxury Rehab Center, Paracelsus Recovery. During these years, the banker also decided that she wanted to create more impact within the financial industry. So, she founded the international nework and platform Women in Sustainable Finance, a think tank for women who are committed to sustainability in the financial world.
After two years in the healthcare industry, she was brought back into the banking world – as Head of Business Development, Community, and PR at the young „radicant bank”, the first digital sustainability bank in Switzerland, where she can now devote herself to her heartfelt topic again.
An exciting look behind the scenes of a young bank that aspires more than just making money.

Ladies Drive: You’ve been working in the financial industry for years. It has been shaken up badly in recent years and months. Do you think people still trust the financial sector, and in particular banks at all?

Dr. Marta Ra: Oh, what a first question! The financial sector has a socio-economic significance for our economy and society. Further- more, we live in a global system in which banks play a central role as the cornerstone and integral element of a functioning international and global coexistence of sovereign nations. Hence, this makes it even more important for customers and clients to be able to trust those institutions. In addition to that, digitalization plays a significant role and the needs of consumers have undergone a transformation and have therefore changed considerably. This is another reason why trust plays a central role: consumers and clients need to identify with a brand, a product, or the values of a company.

That’s true – but why exactly do you think trust was lost?

Trust is built over a long period, but it can be irreparably lost in no time. Trust is lost when promises or expectations are not fulfilled. Consumers today are much more informed and critical due to the democratization of knowledge, and its proximate availability catered through the internet. Even more so, it is important that these commitments or promises are not pure lip service but that companies act authentically with conviction and implement their promises in an comprehensible way.

How do you manage to restore trust in an industry as a whole? How can this be achieved at all?

Inn a fast-paced, digital and technology-driven world, proximity is key because it makes the person behind the company perceptible. This „human touch“ is an essential basis for trust. Of course, the offer, the price and the performance must be right. However, it is just as crucialthat the customer can identify with the values of a brand or a company. For this reason, personal interaction, as well as an authentic and approachable conveyance of values within marketing, communication, and public relations, are so important.

You work at radicant – what makes radicant different from your previous employers in terms of purpose, planet, and people?

We think about sustainability holistically. This means that we have developed investment solutions that drive sustainability at all levels, with a clear focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. However, this also means that we offer a sustainable account – including a CO2 tracker – and offer our customers the option to forgo plastic cards. In this way, we want to be a real alternative to traditional banks and existing neobanks. Holistic or comprehensive also means that we shape our corporate culture in a way that sustainability can be lived on a daily basis.

You are responsible for the community at radicant. That’s already very progressive that there’s a position like this, right?

Absolutely! A community is essential, especially in times of epidemic loneliness and isolation. We are committed to working with our community to shape the future of digital and sustainable banking. Stakeholders such as financial institutions play an important role here. We offer radicant community members, as well as the general public, a space for interaction and exchange. This supports our mission: to promote the achievement of the United Nations‘ 17 Sustainable Development Goals through sustain- able investment. Through this goal, we are building a foundation for future generations based on mutual trust and also collaborative innovation. And ultimately, this is also about credibly conveying content and establishing trust.

I can imagine that you address your community via omnichannel communication – could you share insights about your positioning in this regard?

In our omnichannel communication strategy, we rely on various channels to ensure that our customers can reach us at any time and in the way they prefer. We use Salesforce to coordinate our communication channels – providing a seamless experience for our customers is essential. Our approach is to turn every client interaction into a moment of value, whether a simple inquiry or a more complex investment theme. The technology helps us use our resources efficiently and ensures fast reaction time and accurate responding to customer concerns. What stands out is that we’re using these tools to modernize banking operations and noticeably improve the customer experience. By automating standard processes, for example, we can focus on the important aspects of the customer relationship. We operate on a pure cloud strategy, mainly leveraging Google Cloud. Data collection, processing, and distribution are done in Google’s data layer. In addition, we maintain close partnerships with other technology providers, in particular with Salesforce in the field of CRM solutions. The combination of flexibility, personalized customer experience, integrated platform functionality, and high security and compliance makes our partner Salesforce an ideal solution for us. It could also serve as a model for other Swiss banks that want to expand their digital offerings.

What is it that you want to achieve with radicant? Or perhaps, to put it better: What is your personal vision or mission at radicant? And how are you going to accomplish that?

Sustainability has always been important to me. As a banker, I have devoted myself more and more to sustainability over the years in my career. I co-founded the organization Women in Sustainable Finance, with which we connect and empower people – especially women – globally. After all these years of dedicating myself to the topic, I can say that I am convinced that we can do even more in the area of sustainable investments. As one of the world’s leading centres for Asset Management and Wealth Management, Switzerland is predestined to play a crucial role in this area. radicant is pioneering in Switzerland as a digital sustainability bank with its own banking license.

How do you think the banking world will look like in ten years?

Sustainability is a megatrend, which will likely become the norm within the financial sector. For example, Switzerland’s financial industry is currently setting itself clear guidelines. On the one hand, this is important for the long-term establishment and acceptance, to establish trust in this area. This includes codes of conduct for employees in the financial sector, certifications for investment advisors, and other clear guidelines classifying sustainable investment approaches. Millennials and centennials are giving us another signal: they are growing up with digital technologies. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the way banks do business in the future. Digital and sustainable simultaneously: That’s what we already offer today.

And how are we going to invest our money? Where do you see exciting trends and opportunities?

We are on the verge of experiencing a generational change in banking customers. And all the research here shows that the future of investing lies in sustainability for this new generation. Customers will choose a bank they trust. With the new generation of clients in mind, this trust should come from the fact that, in addition to the financial return, the investments generate a positive impact on our society and our planet. For this reason, our financial products are aligned with the United Nations‘ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs, editor’s note). At radicant, we invest exclusively in solutions supporting these 17 goals. But sustainability must also be lived in a credible way. Here, too, the future generation is clear in its statements: Sustainability plays an increasingly important role in their everyday lives. More and more individuals care about their CO2 footprint. Here, for example, we already offer a solution today. We have developed a CO2 footprint tracker where you can track the footprint for each transaction made in real-time in our app. In terms of investment trends and opportunities, sustainable investments have historically focused mainly on environmental issues. However, other thematic blocks within the UN SDGs are dedicated to the social sector; these equally deserve equal attention and importance. For example, the theme „Social Progress“ includes SDGs such as “peace” or “education”. Ultimately, we can only maintain sustainable economic growth and a livable planet worldwide if inequalities are reduced and the quality of life of all people worldwide is improved. And it is precisely this endeavor that is a beautiful investment opportunity.

Veröffentlicht am Februar 05, 2024

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