Pilatus Bank targets the mass affluent with private bank in your pocket

CEO Hamidreza Ghanbari explains why Pilatus is prioritising human relationships over robo-advisors

January 19, 2018

The mass affluent are the holy grail for private bankers. In Europe there are 134 million people with wealth valued between $100,000 and $1m. And although they would benefit from the service and attention of a personalised wealth manager, the challenge of scaling up that offering is significant. Hamidreza Ghanbari, CEO of Pilatus Bank, thinks he has the solution: and it isn’t the robo-advisors that mainstream banks have been developing. Human interaction and personalised relationships are the essence of private banking, he says: and they will be core to Pilatus’ offering.

World Finance: First; who are the mass affluent, and how significant are they as a customer base?

Hamidreza Ghanbari: Thank you Paul. To start with, they are smart, wealthy, very diverse, and severely underserved. And they represent the largest portion of global wealth: even bigger than high net worth individuals. They have all the characteristics of early adopters, and they’ve been taken for granted by the big banks. So we see big potential in this market segment, which seems to be lost between the retail and private banking space.

World Finance: Now this segment has been underserved until now; what’s changed?

Hamidreza Ghanbari: Well historically, the high fees and minimum balance requirements were significant. The challenge for private banks is how to make the model accessible and affordable. And to overcome that, you have to make sure your business model is scalable, because in the past, we’ve seen that the banks, they tried to bring down the minimum requirements, or tried to be competitive in terms of fees. But they failed to scale up. And this is what we set out to do.

So while conventional banks are struggling to find a way how to engage their new clients, we at Pilatus are leading the way of a new private banking model, which is scalable and accessible.

World Finance: One of the other challenges with dealing with this segment of the population is that, as you said, they span all demographics. So how can you segment that population and actually understand what it is that they need?

Hamidreza Ghanbari: Let me answer your question this way. Look at human behaviour. We all look for convenience and efficiency. Pilatus Bank offers its exclusive and personalised services through our proprietary technology platform, which we call ARX. ARX is that very platform that provides you with efficiency and convenience, wherever you are in the world.

So: having your branch in your pocket. Having your private banker on the go. Scaling up human interactions.

World Finance: So in the future, as a member of the mass affluent; what do my banking interactions look like?

Hamidreza Ghanbari: We believe that the future of banking belongs to private banking and its core values, which are dedicated relationship managers and customers who want to know and to be known to their bank.

We believe the market is ripe now, and if we can get it right, it would definitely lead us to the next generation of banking, which lately become known as the Uber moment of banking.

World Finance: Well we’ll look forward to that. Hamidreza, thank you very much.

Hamidreza Ghanbari: Thank you very much.