The writing is on the wall. Millennials will command the attention of private banks and the wealth management industry as a whole for the decade to come.
This is great news for them, but much less so for the traditional incumbents slow to update their service offering. PSD2, or Europe’s Revised Payment Services Directive of 2018, propagated ‘open banking’ – the phenomenon enabling customers to instruct their banks to release their information for authorised third parties. It democratised all of the services inherent in a ‘big bank’, be that HSBC, Santander or Chase, and birthed the rise of the Fintech.
Rare it is, to hear of a customer celebrating their recent visit to a bank branch. Unless of course, free money is involved. Are retail banks in the business of handing out free money?
As we would all wish, but wealth management is for-profit. The industry must instead cater to our other demands, which start with destroying the infamous bank branch. Enter, ‘challenger banks’, also known as neobanks.
Revolut is the most popular name in the millennial wealth management arena given its prevalence across 37 countries and recent valuation at $5.5 billion.
This is a free account, with no monthly fees nor hidden charges. Not included in this list is fractional share or commodity trading (ie buying fractions of a share or a precious metal for $1 with no commissions). The features which formerly came from retail banks at modest charges, albeit in limited forms, or from wealth managers at hefty charges, as ‘comprehensive’ offerings, are now free to millennials. In addition, the typical $7 commission charges on stock trades have now disappeared entirely.
While Revolut is the most successful with its one-stop-shop strategy (think: Apple) for providing individual services also highly appealing to wealth management clients, the world has the USA’s Chime (valued at $14.5 billion), Brazil’s Nubank ($10.0 billion), Germany’s N26 ($3.5 billion), and the UK’s Monzo (£1.25 billion).
A simple business model: use data and algorithms to package the success of passive investing, the wealth management industry’s solution of low-cost investing by following the market, into a mass-producible service. Couple said mass production with mass personalisation, which is in this context the ability to recommend individualised asset allocation mixes using exchange-traded funds. It works. Amazingly well.
Betterment and Wealthfront of the USA both manage over $20 billion in assets. A small sliver by any measure in comparison to Bank of America’s Global Wealth and Investment Management division handling $1.35 trillion or the $1.26 trillion of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Where the disruption lies is in their annual management fee of 0.25% and their focus on the fastest-growing segment within investment strategies.
Passive is forecasted to rise from an AUM of $14.2 trillion globally in 2016 to $36.6 trillion in 2025, a 158% jump according to PwC. They also forecast in the same report that mass affluent and HNWI clients will account for $222 trillion in client assets by 2025, or 64% of the global total.
In June of this year fintech Personal Capital sold itself to leading retirement provider Empower for $1 billion. For millennial wealth management, this is a small-step-big-leap moment.
Personal Capital champions the hybrid model of combining robo-advisory with two human financial advisors, for all clients depositing $200 thousand or more. That’s constant portfolio monitoring, tax optimisation and advisory support for major, personal financial decisions. For clients depositing $1 million or more—wealth and estate planning, and a full array of private banking services.
Similarly, Wealthfront offers lower-fee passive management of retirement plans, or for large expenditures like extended travel, home ownership or college. The minimum balance for an investment account: $500.
Wealth management for the family is no longer reserved for high-tower private banks or secretive family offices, but for everyone and every millennial.
Lending is a sore spot for retail banking. Meaning, unless you are a bona fide wealth management client, you are unlikely to receive a personal loan or on the flip side, a high savings rate.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs® supplies both demands by offering (1) a high-yield CD account of 0.85% at a minimum of $500, and (2) personal loans up to $40,000 with no fees. No wonder their deposits grew by $20 billion in the second quarter of this year to a total of $92 billion.
Neobank for the American people, Chime, offers a fee-free chequing account and a savings account paying 1.00%. Again, their most recent valuation is $14.5 billion.
Based in The Bahamas means Deltec is independent and global at the same time. There’s no need for a proximity-based wealth manager. Investment management, retirement planning, foreign exchange, digital assets, among other perks—should all come remotely and ideally, 24/7.
At Deltec’s heart is boutique wealth management, the stuff making the ‘prestige’ of Coutts or LGT Bank, but there is also something unique. It operates like a fintech, which means it stays adaptable and believes in partnership. It combines the traditional excellence of wealth management with the new of the 21st century.
One partner, Delchain, provides a white-glove service to mass affluent millennials wanting to work with new cryptocurrencies. That’s Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, Tether, Litecoin, Tron, Kava and so on; trading, borrowing, converting, and staking. Another, Deltec Partners, opens the door to merchant banking and the opportunity to participate in private deals. Deltec Bank & Trust itself brings the full gamut of wealth planning, tailored portfolios and retail services regardless of where you physically are.
Whatever service or product the traditional, incumbent wealth manager offered in the past is now open for disruption: free chequing, high savings, affordable loans, automated portfolios, high-reward credit cards, alternative investments, accessible retirement planning, or the bank branch itself. This is not an exhaustive list.
Fintechs are here to stay, as are millennials, who will drive the deposits and revenues to come. All the wealth management industry need do is adapt.
Disclaimer: The author of this text, Jean Chalopin, is a global business leader with a background encompassing banking, biotech and entertainment. Mr. Chalopin is Chairman of Deltec International Group, www.deltecbank.com.
The co-author of this text, Conor Scott, has been active in the international private banking industry since 2012, focusing on relationship management, investment advisory and research. Mr. Scott is a Business Development Analyst at Deltec International Group, www.deltecbank.com.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text are solely the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Deltec International Group, its subsidiaries, and/or its employees.
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