In a rebuke to digital wealth management in Singapore, a string of banks have opened new premises for their private and premium customers. Private Banker International looks at some of these new bedecked branches.
Having conducted a series of staff and client interviews, Standard Chartered found that branches remain “a key client touchpoint” despite launching new online tools. Many clients – especially the wealthier ones – prefer more personable services.
However, Andrew Chia, head of Retail Banking, for Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, said the physical branch needs to blend online offerings: “Our clients have increasingly shown a preference for digital banking, and this doesn’t change when they step into a branch.”
Standard Chartered’s new branch in Singapore’s Takashimaya Shopping Centre has therefore been designed with physical touchpoints to complement online and mobile services. But just as importantly, aesthetics have been incorporated into the new branch so priority and personal customers feel comfortable when talking money.
The opening of UOB’s new Wealth Banking branch in February was also underpinned by research.
A behaviour survey of UOB clients last year found that one in two customers “said they will supplement their online research with a visit to a branch to seek the advice of a relationship manager”.
The new branch not only provides personable services though, artificial intelligence and data analytics are employed. “UOB customers simply need to scan their identification card at the Self-Help Ticketing Kiosk,” the bank said. “Within seconds, the customer receives information on relevant financial solutions that could be of interest to them.”
A relationship manager receives the same set of information and benefits from ‘UOB Portfolio Advisory Tools’ a digital service offered specifically to emerging affluent consumers.
HSBC’s Jade service provides investment services to individuals depositing at least S$1.2 million (US$890,000).
Not only will these clients receive concierge services alongside financial advice, but they will also have the use of two Jade Centres being opened in Singapore this year: one in Orchard and another in Changi Airport’s upcoming ‘Jewel’ terminal.
“Given these customers are typically frequent travellers who will leverage Changi Airport’s excellent international flight connectivity as a stopover destination, having a presence within the airport will make it easier for them to bank with HSBC,” the bank said.