The biggest surprise Cat Rüst experienced when she moved from the world of tech startups to that of banking came about three months into her job.
The Hong Kong-born, U.K./Swiss national had just joined UBS Wealth Management to help digitize its relationships with clients in North Asia. “I hit all my KPIs in my first three months,” she said, “because I was harnessing the talent of other people.”
It was a lesson for the bank, too: by working around traditional silos, it could unlock a lot of internal potential. “If you have a different perspective, you can achieve a lot,” Rüst said.
She says UBS took a leap of faith to hire her into the role (head of innovation strategies for Greater China) without a banking background. “Amy Lo [Rüst’s boss, who runs Greater China business] is committed to technology,” she said.
Rüst has founded companies such as digital consultancy Catalist and Exicon, a digital portfolio-management platform. “You’re defined not by your job, but by your skills,” she said. “Specializations are still relevant, but amplify them through technology, and support them through new skills.”
Her agenda at the bank – with a revamped set of KPIs! – is to drive innovation for clients and staff; to develop UBS Wealth Management’s digital options for Hong Kong and mainland China, including a strategy for a Hong Kong virtual-banking license; and win new clients through digital engagement.
She is also active in the community, chairing a technology advisory committee at The Women’s Foundation.