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UBS sets sights on fintech startups

UBS has been boosting its investments in India over the last few years. From initially focusing the country as a market, it is increasingly tapping India as a delivery location for its technology spend.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2020, 11.20 AM IST
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The company also focuses on hiring freshers and skilling talent internally.
BENGALURU: Swiss banking behemoth UBS is considering to launch a venture fund to invest in fintech startups as it bets on technology to help it stay ahead of rivals. It is also looking to bring its startup outreach to India.

Fintech startups and technology companies were considered the nemesis of traditional banks and financial services firms. But increasingly, the large financial services players are partnering with or buying out fintech companies to boost their innovation capabilities.

“We are thinking through the process of whether we should do a fund and invest in fintech firms at the moment,” Michael Dargan, head of group technology at UBS, told ET in an interview.

“We recently hosted a series of ‘future of finance’ challenge across New York, Zurich and Singapore. We met hundreds of fintech firms in each city. The four who won the competition were selected for consideration. We are thinking about doing the same in India.”

Dargan added that the Swiss bank was paying attention to the micro-payments space in India. “The way micropayments are evolving in the market is very interesting. It is also where the government has put a lot of focus,” he said.

UBS has been boosting its investments in India over the last few years. From initially focusing the country as a market, it is increasingly tapping India as a delivery location for its technology spend. UBS spends about $3.5 billion a year in technology and has moved from outsourcing most of its work to IT firms to doing the work itself. Out of a 20,000-strong technology workforce, about 5,000 are in India and nearly 3,000 of them are permanent.

Dargan said the bank considers India a location from which it can drive innovation, instead of just looking at it as a back-office location. The company also focuses on hiring freshers and skilling talent internally. “I believe in homegrown talent that understands people, their growth, and we’ve seen fantastic results in India. This is our way of building the leadership pool and growing great teams in India,” Dargan said.

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