Tech start-ups snap at the heels of Asian private bankers

Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:19pm EDT
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By Jeremy Wagstaff and Saeed Azhar

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Scanning a bank statement into a computer may not sound particularly high-tech, but it's unsettling some of Asia's private bankers.

By aggregating all the monthly statements mailed to high net worth individuals on the multiple accounts they hold at different institutions, Singapore start-up Mesitis offers clients a single window on their holdings.

"There's a need for this," says Pooja Gurbani, a Singaporean in her 30s who handles tens of millions of dollars of family money. "It makes us see more, it makes us more intelligent investors."

With 4.7 million high net worth individuals - typically those with $1 million in liquid financial assets - Asia-Pacific is the largest and fastest growing wealth region, according to Cap Gemini and RBC.

But its private banking industry is only slowly waking up to the demands of a new, tech-savvy generation of wealthy clients and family offices, creating opportunities for financial technology, or fintech, start-ups.

Gurbani said she was so impressed with the Mesitis service that she ditched her private banker and even invested in the firm, one of a handful of start-ups across Asia looking to disrupt the traditional wealth management business.

For sure, sending statements to a third party and viewing holdings online won't appeal to everyone, especially ultra high net worth individuals - those with at least $30 million of investable assets - and Mesitis says it is not regulated.


A view of the signange outside UBS Business University which houses their innovation center Evolve in Singapore March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su