Standard Chartered’s “My RM” app is embedded within its online and mobile banking platforms, allows its rich local and international clients to communicate with their relationship managers directly, schedule appointments, and authorise investment transactions securely from wherever they are, according to a statement by the bank.
“Staying close to our clients, regardless of distance, and harnessing technology to elevate their banking experience is a huge priority,” said Dwaipayan Sadhu, head of consumer, private and business banking, Singapore.
Through file sharing, screen sharing, and audio call functions, clients are able to react to market movements and make transactions through the app.
A recent KPMG report warned that traditional wealth managers are lagging behind so-called “challenger banks”, with their roots in payments, and which hope to use their e-wallets to tap to offer wealth management services.
In addition, a handful of “wealthtechs”, such as AutoWealth (Singapore), Kristal.AI (Singapore and Hong Kong), Lufax (mainland China), Stashaway (Singapore) and Welnvest (Singapore), have also entered the wealth management arena and are expanding beyond their home-bases.
Wealthtech players are offering advanced client-facing capabilities, such as intuitive and comprehensive dashboards and intelligent portfolio recommendations.
Nevertheless, traditional wealth managers are fighting back. KPMG notes that Citi and UBS, as well as Standard Chartered Bank are moving ahead, while HSBC lags in wealth management digital capabilities. Their main edge in the competition with new entrants lies in their global capabilities, and access to international markets and products.
Although competition to attract clients is tough, retaining them is even harder.
Rich individual investors in Asia Pacific are among the least loyal, and most frustrated, by their digital platform experiences, according to a study last month by Refinitiv, part of the London Stock Exhnage Group.
Almost a third of investors in the region use at least three digital channels to manage their investment accounts, twice the figure in North America (16%); 22% of Apac investors are willing to switch platforms within a year because of their unhappy digital experiences.
Typical complaints range from difficulty navigating the platform, poor data capabilities, and inadequate provision of analysis and visualisation.
Standard Chartered’s growth ambitions
Standard Chartered Singapore’s international banking client portfolio and total assets under management (AUM) have registered double-digit growth over the last few years and remains on an upward growth trajectory of more than 30% per annum in 2020, according to the statement.
The bank plans to double its number of relationship managers in Singapore, and also double its international banking business in the next five years.
In April, Standard Chartered also said that it planning to hire around 400 people in its retail banking and wealth management businesses in Hong Kong this year. It plans to invest HK$200m ($26m) over the next three years to reshape its 70 branches in the territory.
Standard Chartered combined its retail, private banking and wealth management businesses into one segment at the start of this year, and HSBC followed suit with a similar restructuring that will fuse its high net worth and retail clients into a single unit.