Roman von der Höh looks back to a successful year

“All my expectations were actually met or even exceeded”

1. Roman, you have been Managing Director of RAQUEST Switzerland GmbH for one year now. Which was the most memorable moment from these last 365 days?

Probably the confirmation call from our first new customer while I was driving through Zurich.

2. What were your expectations and goals when you took on the position?

I was looking for a growing company, where I could actively shape change and transformation. Which is exactly what I found at RAQUEST. Naturally, it was a set goal from the beginning to win new customers in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and beyond.

3. Sounds like your expectations have been fulfilled...

This might sound corny, but all my expectations were actually met or even exceeded. We were already able to win three new customers in Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the first year, and my team has also managed to grow in terms of personnel. I didn’t expect that we would achieve so many major milestones in such a short period of time.

4. One of the defined goals of the Zurich office was to open up the Swiss market for RAQUEST. How is that coming along?

Market development in Switzerland is still in full swing. However, we are definitely on the right track and, as already mentioned, have made a great start by signing three new clients already. For 2023 we aim to further raise the number of new clients.

In general, we have been able to build up a strong network in Switzerland over the past year, which will positively affect our further development. This also includes partnerships with core banking software providers, which provide standardized interfaces to our software.

5. You primarily work from the RAQUEST office in Zurich, while the rest of the RAQUEST team is based in the south of Munich. How is this working for you?

It works impeccably. Colleagues are always available and after more than two years in home office mode, we have all learned how virtual communication works. In addition, I visit the headquarters in Germany at least once, but often several times a month, in order to exchange ideas with my colleagues in person.

6. You are an expert in the field of withholding taxes and have a large network within the Swiss financial market and beyond. What do you think: Why is automated withholding tax recovery still under the radar in many financial institutions?

When it comes to tax services, many banks, and financial service providers often first think of the costs and operational risks. As a result, they only perform it manually, if at all, and only actively offer it to a small number of end customers.

In recent years, major regulatory implementations were unavoidable and often implemented very quickly, so the topic of withholding tax service often fell far behind in prioritization, especially in IT implementation. This is a great pity, both for the end customers and the banks.

7. What is the current situation? Are we seeing a turnaround in withholding tax services?

In general, the demand for tax services, including withholding tax services, has increased significantly in recent years. There are certainly various reasons for this. On the one hand, banks now see withholding tax services as a customer loyalty tool and performance booster. At the same time, financial institutions want to cut costs where possible – time-consuming, manual processes are a huge cost factor that can be curbed through automation and standardization. And lastly, we see that individual EU countries are striving to harmonize the withholding tax process and are setting the course for this, for example through digital processes such as the Finnish TRACE. I assume that all of this will intensify in the coming years.

8. You know the Swiss financial landscape like the back of your hand. Is Switzerland already ahead of Germany when it comes to withholding tax services?

Wealth management is much more firmly anchored in Switzerland and serves an international clientele. After all, wealth management in Switzerland is still one of the largest in the world. Individual advice and comprehensive service for high net worth individuals and institutional clients are very important in Switzerland. Nevertheless, an active withholding tax service for all client groups is still far from being the standard.

9. Can you even top last year's successes? Where do you go from here?

Most certainly! In 2023, we will further intensify our focus on acquiring new customers in Switzerland. If I could make a wish, it would be this: We would like to onboard new customers in all language regions of Switzerland and of course Liechtenstein, who would then become part of the existing RAQUEST community.

10. Last question: Switzerland or Germany – which financial market does your heart beat for?

Clearly Switzerland. The international flair always inspires me. And after 18 years in Switzerland, I also wouldn’t want to miss the country itself, the nature and the people.