8 Client and consumer protection

SZKB attaches great importance to client and consumer protection. The goals, wishes and needs of the clients are the starting point for long-term and holistic advice and support. SZKB’s structured advisory process takes the entire family, professional and general life situation into consideration. SZKB provides a wide range of attractive products and services. As part of its comprehensive advisory services, SZKB offers its clients high-quality solutions that are tailored to their individual needs.

SZKB holds its products and services to high standards, which is why they are regularly reviewed and assessed by the responsible specialist department (Product Management). Departments with direct client contact are involved in such reviews and assessments in order to ensure that the products and services are improved on an ongoing basis and with the needs of the clients in mind. When products are being developed, clients are involved in the process so that direct feedback on the planned developments can be obtained. Client reactions and client surveys are also used to obtain input on client satisfaction and potential for improvement.

The head of the specialist department brings the results of such reviews to the Sales Commission. This body is responsible for approving products and services and is made up of representatives from the Executive Board, Sales Management, Marketing & Communication and Product Management. The Sales Commission analyses the submitted product innovations, extensions or enhancements and makes a decision regarding their implementation after a broad discussion. Through the work of the Sales Commission, oversight of product launch and review lies within the responsibilities of the Executive Board.

The detailed process for product renewals and reviews is defined in a corresponding directive.

SZKB attaches great importance to transparency and uses a variety of different physical and digital channels to provide its clients with comprehensive and targeted information. In addition to information on the product level, client-specific data is also made available in reports. When new products or product extensions are involved, the sales staff are informed of the changes so that the quality of advice provided to clients can be maintained. All SZKB client advisors also complete a personal certification in accordance with the requirements of the Swiss Association for Quality (SAQ). This certification confirms that they have the necessary knowledge to advise clients well (see Chapter 5.12 Training and continuing education).

In 2022, there were no relevant violations of regulations or voluntary codes of conduct related to product and service information and labelling. 

SZKB attaches great importance to impeccable client service. Should clients nevertheless be dissatisfied, the client’s personal client advisor, the central information hotline (client centre) or an employee chosen by the client will accept, record and handle their complaints. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the appropriate department will be consulted. A corresponding work instruction provides the details regarding how client complaints due to lack of satisfaction with SZKB or non-compliance with standards by SZKB are handled. Because SZKB sees client complaints as an impetus for making improvements, the responsible specialist unit analyses complaints received on a quarterly basis, with any conspicuous features (clustering or concentrations of complaints) being passed on to the relevant specialist departments to be dealt with.

SZKB regularly measures client satisfaction and the outside world’s perception of the Bank. From time to time, SZKB conducts client surveys and mystery checks in regard to specific topics, from which valuable information for further development can be obtained. SZKB also periodically participates in surveys conducted by the Association of Swiss Cantonal Banks (VSKB) in regard to client satisfaction and the image of the Bank.

SZKB offers information platforms, such as in the form of client events, to help clients become even more familiar with various banking topics. Clients are taught how to safely use digital banking services and are assisted with important topics such as systematic asset accumulation or personal pension planning, for example.

In order to take account of changing client needs, SZKB is constantly investing in the expansion and optimisation of its advisory process and the associated tools. In the 2nd half of 2022, SZKB also launched a strategic project with the aim of further improving the advisory experience over the next one to two years.