UK challenger Monument to tap Britain’s mass affluent

via FinTech Futures

Monument, a new UK fintech challenger, is looking to tap Britain’s mass affluent population.

Co-operative Bank’s former chief executive, Niall Brooker, is chairing the venture. Mintoo Bhandari, a former managing director at Apollo Global Management – one of the world’s largest alternative investment manager firms, is leading the venture alongside Brooker.

The start-up reckons around 3.5 million consumers fall into this bracket, which it defines as people with a net worth between £250,000 and £5 million.

The fintech says it is currently in “the latter stages” of a banking licence application it submitted in December 2019. Its products will focus around savings and property investment lending.

Monument’s moves to date

The start-up evolved out of a belief that the mass affluent have gone “largely unaddressed by the [UK’s] challenger bank boom”.

As well as filling this gap in the market, Monument will also be taking on long-established names which have served the wealthy. Among them are Coutts, Hampden & Co, Weatherbys and C Hoare & Co

The fintech has raised £10 million in seed funding so far. It says it has working capital for around the next 15 months.

Through the last 18 months of the building process, Monument has interviewed roughly 1,800 mass affluent consumers.

It says 93% of these respondents “expressed dissatisfaction” with their current banking provider.

“Increasingly, private banking is focused on the ultra-high net worth and lags when it comes to embracing modern technology,” says Bhandari.

“Premier banking really only exists in name only.”

Products

Monument intends to “make the most of modern cloud and microservices technology”. This way, its hopes to breed a plug and play approach for new capabilities.

It says it will reward loyalty, giving the example a saver which deposits money for a subsequent fixed term. This saver would then get a better rate than a new customer.

The start-up also says it is the first bank to offer an entirely digital lending journey for buy-to-let and property investment lending of up to £2 million.

Each customer can choose how they interact with the bank. Whilst some journeys are fully digital, the bank will offer live chat, video and co-browsing features.

There will be the opportunity to meet relationship managers in a post-coronavirus world too.

People

Alongside industry heavyweights Brooker and chief executive Bhandari, the team also consists of founder Vikash Gupta. He spent seven years at Barclays Wealth before founding financial advisory firm VAR Capital.

Chief commercial officer John Saunders comes with 20 years’ experience from UBS Wealth Management, Barclays Wealth, Coutts and Deutsche Wealth Management.

Steve Britain, the bank’s chief operating officer, led Co-op’s retail bank and founded HSBC Premier in the UK.

Its compliance and risk team come with experience from PwC, Bank of Ireland and Bank of China. Chief strategy officer Wasim Khouri is one of the youngest on the team, with a few years’ experience from McKinsey & Company and Gupta’s VAR Capital.