Print this article

EXCLUSIVE: Private Banks, Wealth Managers Offer "Uneven" Digital Services

Josh O'Neill

10 April 2018

In today’s world, one can have practically anything delivered to their doorstep on the same day or next with just a few taps on a smartphone. 

Yet, many leading private banks and wealth managers globally are providing “uneven” digital services, performing well on one channel but lagging on others.

This is the main finding of a new report from Swiss research house , shared exclusively with this publication, which analysed and ranked the overall digital performance of 20 prominent money management firms.

Onawa Lacewell, senior analyst at MyPrivateBanking, warned that firms with a lacking digital toolkit are at “high risk” of losing clients to more innovative counterparts.

“A significant group of banks who don’t fall into the ‘digital leader’ category have not yet managed to transform even their most important channels like websites or mobile apps,” Lacewell said. “Therefore, the gap between the vanguard and the rest of the pack is growing. And those banks currently lagging behind are now at high risk of losing clients if their digital transformations aren’t put in place soon.”

The report comes at a time when conglomerates like Amazon are said to be exploring routes into the banking sector. Further down the line, it is easy to see why young, tech-savvy wealth holders may choose a familiar firm with proven technology expertise and solid business infrastructure to oversee their finances. 

Moreover, in the UK, January’s introduction of the Open Banking data-sharing initiative has forced the nation’s nine largest lenders to release their data to third parties, which can use it to create new products and services, allowing smaller, more nimble players to get a foot in the banking ring. 

After examining the firms’ mobile, website and social media channels, MyPrivateBanking placed UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, at the top of the chart, scoring it 84.2 per cent of the maximum points, buoyed “in part” by an “especially strong” mobile offering. Credit Suisse closely followed with 83.9 per cent, earning the accolade of best social media presence. 

BNP Paribas took third place, scoring 83.3 per cent, “showing a balanced and excellent performance” across all its digital channels, the report said. 

“Digital leaders push the envelope,” Lacwell continued. “They aren’t afraid to invest in the big ideas, even if these ultimately fail to produce results. They are proactive rather than reactive. Digital leaders aren’t simply following the status quo of their peers – they are creating a new status quo.”