MyPrivateBanking Blog
Daily Comments on the World of Wealth Management

Posts Tagged ‘private banking’

Vague about vaults

Friday, March 14th, 2014

(by Francis Groves, Senior Analyst)

In MyPrivateBanking’s latest report, ‘Mobile Apps for Financial Advisors‘, 9 of the 14 vendors covered told us that they provided private banks/wealth manager with some form of electronic vault functionality for use in conjunction with their advisor apps. We believe that this is an encouraging level of provision in this area but there is undoubtedly a lot more that could be done in this area to help advisors/relationship managers and their clients. Moreover, the document handling/electronic vault/secure mailbox sector is full of ambiguity and confusing terminology.

Our focus is chiefly on wealth management clients and their requirements but banks themselves can also be purchasers of electronic vault facilities, as remote back-up services, increasingly cloud-based. Of course, there is likely to be some overlap with the vault facilities that the banks themselves provide for their private clients but it adds to the confusion. On top of that, some service providers and industry specialists use alternative terms such as a ‘digital vault’ or an ‘Internet data safe’, not to mention brand names such as SmartVault, a US provider specialising in vault solutions mainly for accounting purposes.

More serious than the confusion over terms, is the lack of clarity over the details of these client vault services. For example, is it good practice to use the client’s digital vault for posting mail (and documents) as well as for longer term storage? If a relationship manager can put things into their client’s digital vault, can they also retrieve them if, say, they made a mistake and put another client’s documents there by mistake? Presumably, the client’s digital vault requires backing-up, so how quickly would the client have access to that in a disaster recovery situation?

It looks as if private banks and wealth managers are only just beginning to understand the importance of client vault facilities to their overall offering to their clients. Banks face decisions about whether to offer vault services as a way of differentiating their private banking services from their retail ones or whether to use the offer of a digital vault for clients as an incentive for paperless banking. Another area of uncertainty is the extent to which banks should allow clients to store other non-bank related documents, such as electronic copies of wills or deeds of ownership to mention just two, in their digital vault. Providing clients with a secure vault could well become a key way for private banks to ensure they remain (or become) a wealth client’s most important provider of professional services rather than the client’s lawyer or accountant, who may be able to offer their own digital vault service.

Private banks need to give clear messages about what their client digital vault facility can be used for, how secure it is (and whether this security provision is different from that for other banking services), the client’s responsibilities for keeping it secure and who has access to it, both for depositing documents and withdrawing them.


MyPrivateBanking speaks on Mobile Apps at the PrivateBanking Summit 2012

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Our head of research, Steffen Binder, was invited to present our research on the impact of the mobile revolution for wealth management and private banking at the Euroforum Private Banking Summit 2012 in Zurich. He joined a panel discussion together with Credit Suisse’s private banking head in Switzerland and received lots of applause from the audience - which seemed particularly surprised to learn of the already high usage of mobile apps by the wealthy across the globe. We still don’t feel that mobile apps are as high on the agenda of private bankers as they should be – but are sure it will be soon. At least for those banks that aspire to grow their business with the wealthy in the next 5 to 10 years.

We offer members of the MyPrivatebanking Research Community the main charts on the trends, usage numbers, best practices and conclusions for free. Please click here for the slides. Of course, the best presentation still needs a speaker and we recognize that this presentation is incomplete without oral commentary. But we think it still provides great insights and data.

Steffen Binder speaks at Private Banking Summit

Steffen Binder speaks at Private Banking Summit


The Arab Revolution and What It Means for Private Banks

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Just want to let you know that we are working on a research paper on this topic which is due mid next week. So, stay tuned. If you are interested to receive the press release please sign-up here.


Financial Times Quotes MyPrivateBanking on Anti-Kick-Back-Initiatives

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The Financial Times is quoting MyPrivateBanking’s research director on how kick-backs are on the (slow) retreat in Europa. Frequently, fund sponsors and other financial product providers are paying kick-backs or commissions to private banks and wealth managers when they sell their products to clients. This happens often without disclosing the commission to the private banks’ or wealth managers’ client:

But as in the UK and US, the European Commission and some national governments on the continent are laying track for more consumer and investor protection measures. “That’s a big force - not directly for fee-based consulting, but for more transparency, more disclosures, more fairness, whatever that might be,” Mr Binder says. “There are a number of regulatory initiatives right now - where banks have to disclose the ‘kickbacks’ from fund firms and fund sponsors, for example - that will have the effect at the end of day for more consulting to look like fee-based consulting.”

MyPrivateBanking has just released a report on fee-only financial advice in Germany.


Video-Interview on our Social Media Report

Friday, November 19th, 2010

In an interview with the leading Swiss paper NZZ our Research Director Steffen Binder presents (in German) the results of the latest MyPrivateBanking report “Wealth Management and Social Media.

Click here the see the full interview.



Why wealth managers don’t care about social media…

Friday, November 5th, 2010

…the majority probably thinks Facebook is for their sons and daughters to chat with their highschool buddies. WRONG! Read all about it.


Reality Check on Proposed Asset Allocations

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

The most disturbing finding during our mystery shopping tour in the beginning of the year was that the proposed asset allocation varied extremely: We were stunned on how different the private banks our test clients visited reacted to one and the same story. Ok. We were at the heights of the crisis, but still the variance in the asset allocation was breath taking – especially in the equity portion: We got everything from a little more than zero percent in stocks to 95 percent. Inspite all the prevalent doomsday scenarios at this time we regarded the equity portion of most proposals as far to low, given the investment horizon and risk appetite of our test client. The last months proved our judgement: Just imagine how much the value of a portfolio with no stocks vs. almost all stocks will differ now ! Never forget: The choice of your adviser can be the most expensive or profitable decision in your investment life, so always take your time and shop round.


Surprising Experiences When Looking for a Private Banker

Monday, September 28th, 2009

In our recent “Survey of Top European Private Banks” we were surprised about some of the respones and feedback we got during and after our visits with the advisers. Our favorites:

Blunt honesty: In two cases the advisers made pretty clear that they feel ok with their current employer, but neither could honestly tell the client who will own the bank two months from now nor what a change in ownership would mean for the client and his portfolio. Thumbs-up for honest answers.

Vast differences in size of proposals: From a one pager to a 47 page compendium. In respect to the proposal sizes private banks really differ.

Language mix-ups: We came across one company website that is only available in French and another that is offered in English, French and Italian, but not in German – the language with the largest population in Switzerland and Europe. But what really puzzled us was the one proposal written in an unclear mix of English and French. Maybe impressive on a restaurant menu, but certainly not for a client.

Madoff madness: The adviser of one major player promised to mail us the proposal once his bank has sorted out the “Madoff Mess”. Well, Mr. Madoff is waiting for his trial and we are still waiting for the proposal. The adviser of another bank that got heavily hit by the Madoff fraught just shrugged when asked about the consequences for the bank. He gave the trust winning comment: “No worries. The bank is not affected. It is only client’s assets”.

Have you had any strange experiences when talking with a private banker for the first time ?


Honesty Pays, Brutal Honesty Pays More

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

barronshonestywebtile336x8501Today I saw this great advertising in the Wall Street Journal. I think it makes a very good point for the good, old Barron’s Magazine. Somehow, it captures also the essence what should guide the idea of private banking or wealth management: independence, honesty, even brutal honesty between client and advisor. Yet we still live in a world where private banking is an arcane, veiled business all too often not very transparent to the client. It would pay a lot more to client (and probably advisers as well) if wealth management was guided by more honesty and transparency. Some people could even get rich(er) along the way.