Digital bank Alpian eyes Swiss launch in Q3

A general view shows the eastern swiss Alps, Lake Zurich and the city of Zurich
A general view shows the eastern swiss Alps, Lake Zurich and the city of Zurich, Switzerland, April 8, 2021. Picture taken with long exposure. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH, April 6 (Reuters) - Armed with a banking licence from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, digital wealth manager Alpian plans to launch in Switzerland in the third quarter of 2022, the fintech group said on Wednesday.

A startup two years ago, it is now the first licensed digital private bank in Switzerland, Chief Executive Schuyler Weiss told Reuters.

"Yes, we are digital. But first and foremost we are personal private bank. We want to tailor the experience. You give a very human experience to our client," he said.

He said Alpian, in which Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) also has a stake, aims to have 5,000 customers by the end of the year.

The company is entering a market segment that has hardly been occupied so far.

Traditional asset managers for millionaires and billionaires like Julius Baer (BAER.S) or big banks UBS (UBSG.S) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) usually provide their full range of services only to clients with several million dollars in assets.

Retail banks or even smartphone banks such as Revolut or N26 have only a limited and standardised offering. This also applies, for example, to the U.S. robo-adviser Wealthfront, which UBS (UBSG.S) acquired this year. read more

Weiss said the group was primarily targeting clients with liquid assets of 100,000 to 1 million Swiss francs ($108,000 to $1.08 million). Weiss would not disclose fees, but called them "significantly less" than those of traditional private banks.

Alpian has secured 48 million francs in several rounds of financing so far.

The firm, which also has offices in Rome and London, aims to employ around 100 people by year's end, from just under 70 now.

An initial public offering was not envisaged for now, but another round of financing was possible. Alpian wants to break even in 2025.

($1 = 0.9281 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Oliver Hirt; Writing by Michael Shields; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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