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Asia private-bank technology to follow Netflix-lite model

A new analytics system for private banks – allowing clients to track peers’ investments – is being launched in Asia this week, responding to calls for greater peer advice and recommendations.

Singapore-based IT firm Dragon Wealth, founded by two former heads at Credit Suisse, this week rolls out its analytics system for private banks to use with clients.

The firm offers technology that enables clients to see what their peers are investing in, amid calls for greater transparency of peers’ investments.

“There is a trust issue between banks and clients today where clients believe that banks are pushing products,” says Bert-Jan van Essen, co-founder and former CIO of Credit Suisse Asia.

“Clients are not only looking for investment ideas, but want to validate the decisions they are making by checking what their peers are doing. They want to execute and monitor against similar investors to make a confident decision.”

He adds: “Private-banking clients are looking for an experience similar to that outside of the industry – such as peer advice and recommendations from sites like Netflix, TripAdvisor and Amazon, and we are playing into that space.”

The technology is provided directly to end-users, as a platform for private banks to use, and also as an analytics service that can be added to a private bank’s front-technology offering, be that web, tablet or smartphone.

Co-founders Bert-Jan van Essen and Dana Ritter

Van Essen and Dana Ritter, the former head of CRM systems at Credit Suisse in Asia and Europe, set up Dragon Wealth two years ago while they were at the bank, and with the backing of the Swiss firm. Daniel Ott, the Swiss and EMEA CIO with UBS, who was with Credit Suisse at the time, is chairman on Dragon Wealth’s board.

The firm is focusing on Asian high-net-worth (HNW) clients and is piloting its technology with Asian private banking arms, but is also in talks with European banks.

Research from LGT released last year showed that some 70% of HNW clients in Asia are looking to validate with their peers when it comes to investing.

Dragon Wealth offers a platform to private banks to draw data on clients’ peers and provide that information to the clients. The idea is while it will provide clients with much-desired information, it will ultimately help them sell more targeted products and generate revenues.

The firm can also provide analytics to banks that provides news and data that client peer groups are interested in, which can be fed back to clients through banks’ front-technology offerings.

“It means that the bank can keep its current tech landscape, and without any investment in software can deliver our analytics through that,” says Ritter.

The app is also being tested with end-user clients by pooling their LinkedIn information and comparing investments with those peers, or by requesting basic demographic information to build a peer profile.

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