MyPrivateBanking Blog
Daily Comments on the World of Wealth Management

Archive for February, 2013

Are Mobile Apps the Answer to Banks’ Mis-selling Problems

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Royal Bank of Scotland’s 2012 results came in today in what the bank said was a ‘chastening’ year. Part of the £5.2 billion of losses was caused by hefty fines for a number of banking mistakes. Among these are a fine of £700 million for mis-selling interest rate swaps to (fairly) small businesses and another for £450 million for mis-selling payment protection insurance to retail bank customers. But could these problems be a thing of the past thanks to mobile technology. If RBS and its peers in the banking industry really want to prevent problems like mis-selling, equipping customer-facing staff with good employee apps covering single lines of banking business (like payment protection) could be the answer. That way the bank could control its employees in a good way with apps that give them information on the bank’s ‘product’ and steer them through a process that truly offers fair value to the customers.

In March MyPrivateBanking Research publishes its report on Mobile Solutions for Financial Advisors, an area where mobile apps are already enabling better (and compliant) interactions with clients. Please keep a look out here for more information.


Mobile apps for advisors - how good are they?

Monday, February 18th, 2013

There will be a new report by MyPrivateBanking Research on “Mobile Apps for Advisors”;  the publication date should be early March. Right now our analyst team is busy analyzing the market for mobile advisoer solutions - native apps as well as web-based products. We can already says that this market is red-hot as a wave of new products has been released over the last 6-12 months.

Several trends are pushing these products: advisors bringing their own devices to their banks or advisory firms; clients who expect their personal advisors to use state-of-the-art tools and not throwing around heaps of paper; and last but not least the desire of banks and wealth managers to make the advisory process much more effective and efficient.

But are the software vendors ready to meet these challenges? Are their products truly mobile or just (bad) copies of their desk-top-web-versions? Do vendors understand the real dynamics that go on in face-to-face meetings between clients and their advisors? Are the vendors taking into consideration regulatory and compliance rules with their solutions? What is the scope of the offered solutions? How good are they in linking to back-end and legacy systems? These questions and many more will be answered by our report…

The report will give an in-depth profile of nine important vendor solutions, an overview of general market trends and recommendations to solution purchasers (banks, wealth managers etc.) what to look for in advisory apps.


Thoughts on the latest mobile app trends (relevant for banks)

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Just coming back from the M-Days in Frankfurt (the biggest European event on mobile apps and business). Here are some (random) ideas and thoughts I had while strolling around on the fair and talking to various represenatives from start-ups, telcos, banks, but also the bigger software vendors and content players who showed up in Frankfurt:

1. Mobile payment is (again) a big topic. A number of start ups is experimenting with mobile payment solutions based on QR codes, SMS or other verification mechanisms. Banks and telcos seem to sit on the sidelines and watching the games rather passively. Big players like PayPal are  in the process of coming out with a mobile solution soon (it’s called “PayPal Here”). Starbucks has now introduced a mobile payments system in Germany where the customer can use his or her mobile phone to pay without cash or card in any Starbucks. A start-up that is developing a mobile payment standard in Germany is called iZettle. My personal opinion: not sure if big changes in payment are really happening. I guess payment via credit cards, bank transfer/ bank acont, or pre payment are still ruling the world. (However, our mobile app analyst Rosalia Engchuan is pointing out that some banks are already offering apps for mobile payments, sometimes by sending the payment  to another mobile device so the receiver does not have to be customer of the same bank.)

2. Some start ups are trying to disintermediate banks via aggregator banking apps (you can look at and make transactions across multiple bank accounts and banks within one app) with value added tools (like showing expenses by category per month etc.). Check out FinanzBlick for instance. I think this could become a threat to banks if they are not able to offer attractive apps themesves, adding some aggregation features.

3. App store visibility: how well is your app positioned in e app stores? How easily can the app be found? Do you promote your app in the app store? Looking at our latest research for banking apps I think that is a big problem for banks as quite often their apps are hard to search and find. Also descriptions are poor. There are also services to manipulate app ratings and reviews - some providers are definitely making an effort to have a good rating/positioning. Definitely something most banks have to catch up on.

4. App tracking. I haven’t seen a lot of good tools to track app usage like downloads, conversions, transactions, views etc. etc.

5. I think there are lots of good ideas in consumer goods and retail apps that banks could learn from. Apps like Cardstar (aggregating customer cards, you don’t need to carry 10 different cards with you to get dsicounts, points and whatever, just show your mobile) could be a role model for aggregating bank and credit cards. Or using location based information to send specific marketing info via an app. Why not send an offer for a car loan to a client who is walking into a car dealer ship? (Again our mobile banking app analyst Rosalia points out that the interviews for our latest research report on mobile banking apps also showed that some users are just looking for core functions in banking apps and do not expect or want additional features and content.)