Just came across a new player from Geneva: Alpian. Started in Oct 2022 and got a full banking license from FINMA after 3 years of development. Accounts and payment facilities could be Moustachian (“rates among the most competitive you’ll find”), while the wealth management part is expensive at 0.75% of AuM. Metal debit card sounds a bit over the top.
Nice objective to provide more human touch with video calls to actual people who can give advice. Not sure if I would accept advice from a banker though. No brokerage I can see.
I did not find any pricing sheet, they might be cooking one up as we speak? Any insight from this community? (edit: URL added)
I don’t think we are among their target clients. If we are, I fail to see where the competitiveness in their offer is. CHF 90/quarter isn’t on the cheap side for basic banking services, which is what we are usually after, 0% interest rate on savings accounts doesn’t make it an attractive place to keep money and 0.75% AUM fees doesn’t make them interesting for a do-it-yourself investor.
I fail to understand their forex fee structure. At first glance, it doesn’t seem that competitive in regards to other available options (IB, Revolut, Wise) but that may just be me misunderstanding how their total fees work.
Edit: after reading some more, I see a lot of marketing speech to sell ordinary products. By the way they make it sound, you’d tink a debit card is cutting edge technology up to now only available to a chosen few.
The debit card seems to be made of metal. That isn’t cutting-edge technology but has indeed been only available to a chosen few (with the exception of Neon and, abroad, Revolut).
That said, my Louis Vuitton card wallet has lasted me longer as a status symbol than any bank card, while being less expansive in the long run. Oh, and also I don’t need to worry about ATM failing to spit out my card.
Great! I guess that makes it a tool that can cut edges, indeed!
Sorry, I’m a bit snarky this morning. I’ll be interested to know the real competitive advantages of their solution that you guys/gals might see.
From my point of view, not a solution to consider for a mustachian.
Perhaps for someone who already uses private banking services, this offer could be interesting.
However, and as already mentioned, we are not the target audience for this service. IBKR and any free bank do the same job. For me it is about taking advantage of people’s laziness and ignorance. This reminds me of the latest video by Ben Felix (which I highly recommend, by the way) on this very subject.
In conclusion, there are better options (from a cost point of view) elsewhere at the expense of the time it takes to do the research and comparisons by yourself.
They said that they are targetting people who earn between 100’000 CHF and 1 million CHF and who cannot have access to a private Bank.
The detailed fees are available here https://www.alpian.com/static/Fees_alpian_EN-718cead175ced165a7be7ade0d962a22.pdf
Not a solution for do it yourself investors. However, it might be interesting for those who would like to delegate the management of their portfolio or get investment advices.
100k - 1M was referring to the wealth of the target group: https://fintecbuzz.com/fintech-interview-with-ceo-alpian-schuyler-weiss/
I do not think that someone with a salary of >500k will be in their target group.
Why not ? He can’t have access to a traditional private Bank, but could be interested with Alpian ? They only ask for a first investment of 10k - 30k.
The entry threshold for private banking starts at a wealth of 1M and if you earn >500k, chances that your wealth is greater than 1M are pretty high.
TL;DR: I don’t see clearly their value proposition beyond “convenience” - at least for now.
It’s not a high barrier to entry, with 90 CHF/quarter, and unlimited face-to-face consultations over video, but if it ends up being only a “robo-advisor” providing a portfolio based on ETFs etc. - that won’t be worth much.
- Exchange fees (card): Neon > Alpian
- Exchange fees (transfers): IB > Revolut > Alpian
- ATMs (CH + abroad) paid in Alpian, so anything else will do better
- Investment fees: 0.75% + 1.25-1.50% = ~2.00% TER
- Metal card: Neon > Alpian
I tried to get any info if wealth planning, tax advise, real-estate investment recommendation are available and currently they are not.
Investment options now:
Chosen by the bank based on your “investment profile” and some “knobs” in the app. Minimal investment: 30k
The advisors (private bankers?) are very friendly and seem to try to be very helpful.
But even with traditional “high-end” Private Banking - what is the value proposition beyond convenience?
Does anybody has any experience or links to good articles or videos? I would like to take this opportunity with Alpian entering “lower-end” of the market to understand what it is all this Private Banking about
I had become interested in the Alpian project a few months ago and I opened an account with them on the day they launched it for the public. Thus I would like to share a short report about my initial experiences with them during the past two months.
Their customer service has been good and personal: real people answering your questions and doing their best to solve any problem (I had some problems, but they were fixed, and I was provided with detailed and frank explanations about technical issues involved). Two videoconferences with (human) advisors, nice people and helpful information. The kind of service you would expect from a good bank, but online.
One has to consider that this is a new bank. They will still need to offer more, e.g. a virtual debit card — they assured me they are planning to add it soon.
Regarding the remarks by Karol, I agree that I wouldn’t use my Alpian card at ATMs in Switzerland or abroad, there are indeed cheaper options.
Regarding exchange fees, I have been pleasantly surprised (and I didn’t expect it). On two different weekdays, using different several debit / credit cards, I paid within 2 or 3 minutes the same amount of USD 25 to two different merchants (money for provision for future payments). I used Revolut, Neon, Wise, Yuh, Cornèr (credit) and Alpian. In all cases, after conversion, Alpian turned out to be the cheapest. I agree that such comparison has its limitations, since Neon, Wise and Revolut immediately provide the amount in CHF, while the other ones only provide it on the following day. Still, I found it interesting. (On week-ends, Alpian uses a higher FX markup, like several of their competitors do.)
Re quarterly fees: they will be waived in 2023 for customers having at least CHF 50,000 on their investment account with Alpian. If this will continue after 2023, I do not know.
It seems that Alpian is now offering free 12-month trials (see bottom of article : Alpian: Switzerland’s First Digital Private Bank - moneyland.ch).
Either they’re confident about their solution, or they’re trying to attract people because the solution isn’t profitable…
Will the curious take the plunge and test the solution?
Are you still with Alpian?
Interesting to see that they waived their fees - based on the net wealth you have with them.
50k net wealth (cash and/or invested) results in a free bank account with four currencies and a physical and virtual Visa debit.
Fee structure from FX and transactions is pretty fair, tbh and compared to other banks. So, in my eyes, it is a real alternative if you want to change your bank relationship.
I personally would probably not use the Visa debit; for FX I use neon and for CHF transaction Cornercard Plat (yes, I need and want these card linked insurances).
0.75% as management fee is not good, but also not terrible. With the traditional WM banks you get in the same range, with additional businesses (e.g. mortgage, lombard etc) then 0.4-0.5% in management fees.
I would be interested in knowing more about the investments, anyone has more infos?
EDIT: just saw, that Interactive Brokers is the Depotbank. So, I can see how they make their money, with a high spread
Yes, I am still with them. And until now, I am rather pleased. I had several personal contacts with members of their team (not only online), questions I raised were answered in a detailed way. This is for me a major reason of sticking with them. Obviously, I wouldn’t put all my eggs in the same basket, but I am adding step by step (every month) money in my “Managed by Alpian” portfolio.Then, at some point, I will stop and see how it develops. I agree that it might be cheaper to manage investments by myself, as I have attempted to do it in part for two years, but I do not claim any expertise in investments and I am interested in having people taking care of it. About once a month, for customers having a “Managed by Alpian” account, a good analysis is provided about the evolution of the markets and about the choices made by Alpian.
Oups, potential bad news for Alpian (article in French). Alpian CEO leaves the ship :
To work for the public administration in the USA. Not sure if this leave is a bad news, we will see it in the future.
A bit strange to cite personal growth and feeling at home in Rhode Island as the reason to leave. Leaving long before the profit zone is reached will not result in a great payout as he most likely will be asked to sell his shares. Maybe the underlying message is that not every founder is also a good CEO?
It’s not that strange though, for personal reasons some people might want to live in particular area (e.g. to be close to family).
(And I doubt a swiss fintech startup would like to have a remote US CEO)