With Alpian’s launch as Switzerland’s first digital private bank, a new audience of mass affluent people in Switzerland has been introduced to the idea of personalized investing. We had a chance to sit down with Gianmarco Bonaita, Deputy CEO of Alpian, to explore what this means for those who have never been able to access the benefits of a private bank, and what makes it so different.
A digital private bank is a new concept entirely. Why did Alpian take this approach?
The banking industry and its customers have both changed a lot over the past decade. The ongoing trend of digitalization across industries has not overlooked the financial industry. The penetration of mobile apps in banking is perhaps the greatest indicator of this. And this has only been accelerated by the global pandemic.
At Alpian, we are convinced mobile applications have become real showcases not only for retail banking services but also for wealth management. We believe that digital is going to increasingly play a key role in the future of private banking.
The technology we use empowers our advisors to be as client-centric in their approach as possible.
But is the answer to digitizing the private banking experience completely?
We don’t think so. In our approach to wealth management, it is essential to understand people on a human level. For each client, our team of advisors is certified professionals available for consultation through the Alpian app. The technology we use empowers our advisors to be as client-centric in their approach as possible.
The idea of “wealth beyond money” seems to be a driving force for Alpian. Why is that important?
It’s simple. The essence of private banking – digital or traditional – is to realize each client’s unique vision of wealth. These are goals and needs that go beyond just money. For example, the financial security of your children and grandchildren might be the highest priority for you. Our role is to understand the various nuances behind that goal and formulate the strategies that can help you achieve what matters most to you. Whenever we develop a new service or feature, we ask ourselves if it will enable our clients to achieve their definition of “wealth beyond money”.
The digitalized experience we offer enables clients to access key private banking services, like investing in a personalized discretionary management portfolio with the potential for impact orientation and consulting professional financial advisors.
What makes Alpian unique in the digital private banking space?
Traditional private banks usually cater to High-Net-Worth Individuals. As a private bank, the first thing that sets us apart is the audience we serve. We have observed that mass affluent individuals (with investable assets between CHF 100’000 and CHF 1’000’000) would find it difficult to access private banking services. We wanted to create a solution where they would be able to benefit from dedicated private banking services.
This is what makes Alpian disruptive. The digitalized experience we offer enables clients to access key private banking services, like investing in a personalized discretionary management portfolio with the potential for impact orientation and consulting professional financial advisors. All at a fraction of the cost of a traditional private bank.
To top it off, we are also fully licensed by FINMA. In fact, we are the first digital private bank to achieve this.
That’s a lot of distinctions! Is this how you democratize private banking?
Exactly. We believe that a whole new segment of the population can benefit greatly from simple and smart financial services along with access to world-class client advisors through a digital experience. It can solve a real problem, given that today people live busy lives and have little time to dive into financial affairs.
They are also concerned about the environment. How can private digital banks help people fulfill more value-centric goals?
Today, people want to unlock the potential of their money. It’s a facet we have deeply considered at Alpian. For us, impact investing plays a pivotal role in how a portfolio can be personalized. Alpian clients can decide the level of impact they would like to add to their portfolio and orient it toward people or planet-related topics.
Interesting! Do Alpian’s wealth advisors play a part in this process?
Actually, they join the client’s journey at a much earlier stage. Alpian’s wealth management team provides clients with support and guidance from the start of their journey, through digital face-to-face access via video calls and chat. The team is fluent in multiple languages, including German, French, Italian, and English. Clients can consult with the team on everyday banking and wealth management matters, and receive guidance on our mandate: “Guided by Alpian”.
Under the “Managed by Alpian” mandate, clients’ assets are managed according to the risk profile established during the onboarding process. Soon, Alpian will also offer the “Guided by Alpian” advisory mandate, in which clients receive regular advice and recommendations based on their risk profile and available products. With this mandate, clients manage their own accounts while receiving high-level guidance from Alpian’s expert advisors.
Thank you, Gianmarco!