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FNZ Buys Client Onboarding Specialist Appway

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 8 December 2021


The deal turns a spotlight on the rising business sector of specialist onboarding services for private banks, wealth managers and other financial organisations.

FNZ, the UK-based wealth management technology provider, announced today that it has agreed to buy Switzerland-based client onboarding and servicing business Appway. The financial terms of the deal, due to complete early in 2022, were not disclosed.

Private equity house Summit Partners put $37 million of equity funding into Appway in June last year.

Appway is used by firms including Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Pictet, LGT, AXA and LPL Financial (the US wealth management organisation). Its solutions include onboarding for wealth and retail, know-your-client and regulatory reviews, a digital banking platform and solutions in the mortgages and insurance space.

According to modelled data from Dun & Bradstreet, Appway generates around $15.18 million in annual sales, and has about 120 employees. 

The transaction highlights how areas such as client onboarding – which has become increasingly automated to handle anti-money laundering and know-your-client requirements, for example – are important client experience differentiators. Appway has become one of the most prominent players in this space and has also won accolades from the publisher of this news service.

Under the terms of the agreement, Hanspeter Wolf (pictured), Appway’s founder and chief executive, will become chief technology officer of the FNZ Group and join its senior leadership team, effective on the acquisition closing date, FNZ said in a statement.

Brunner spoke to this publication about the deal's impact and rationale.

"We expect a very positive impact to Appway customers and users. On the one hand, we will continue to invest in Appway’s current offering which will continue to be available as a dedicated offering in itself and will co-exist with all the offerings of the FNZ global wealth management platform," he said. "On the other hand - as part of the acquisition, FNZ intends to leverage Appway’s award-winning low-code/no-code workflow automation solution to enhance propositions of the wealth management industry through access to FNZ’s technology, resources, and international reach." 

"Financial institutions who use the combined platform will be able to simplify, de-risk and accelerate the wealth management client onboarding journey, enabling more personalised solutions, accelerating platform deployment timescales and ensuring faster compliance with new regulations," Brunner said. 

“With this acquisition, FNZ continues to add significant next-generation technology to its leading global wealth management platform helping financial institutions around the world to accelerate innovation and rapidly deploy personalised customer propositions across the wealth continuum that are differentiated, scalable and that meet regulatory requirements,” Edinburgh-based FNZ said. 

Appway, whose headquarters are in Zurich, said that it is used by “10 of the top 25 wealth managers to digitise, automate, and accelerate core business processes, such as the onboarding of new clients, managing changing client circumstances, and regulatory reviews." It says that its software is “proven to rapidly deliver unparalleled client experiences, a 90 per cent reduction in onboarding time, a 10 per cent increase in margin per client, and a 225 per cent return on investment.”

In the case of FNZ, the firm provides a technology, transaction and custody platform for wealth managers, banks, insurers and asset managers in 18 countries across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Its client base amounts to more than 150 large financial institutions and it has more than $1.5 trillion in assets under administration. In early November it agreed to buy Fondsdepot Bank, the German trading and custody platform.

The next step
Appway has already worked with FNZ, so the deal evolves from that, Brunner told this news service.

"Both FNZ and Appway have a shared vision centered around a relentless focus on customer success and having a track record of innovation. As a result, we strongly believe that the combination of FNZ and Appway will help to provide financial institutions with an unrivalled global wealth management platform that will accelerate digital transformations, deliver significant operational efficiencies, and improve the overall client experience," Brunner said.

Asked how the pandemic has affected Appway and its strategy, Brunner said: "As an international company, we felt the impact from the very beginning. When the world retired into home office, our customers’ demand for digitalisation of their clients’ touchpoints spiked. In this phase, our customers realised that they are lacking the time to fully integrate their point-solutions with their enterprise business workflows. The result was a flood of new touchpoints and additional tools for their employees."

"However, this led to email inboxes overflowing with additional (and unnecessary) steps to take. Those workflows had to be consolidated; their disconnected activities had to be connected. That's what Appway does best: connecting the disconnected. Going forward the acquisition will accelerate the deployment of personalised propositions at scale across the financial services industry," he added. 

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