Virtual Banking: Hong Kong’s WeLab Bank to Offer Digital Wealth Advisory Solutions

WeLab Bank, the virtual bank dedicated to “curating intelligent banking experience,” has reportedly become the “first” digital bank in Hong Kong licensed “to offer digital wealth advisory services.”

Having obtained the Type 1 (Dealing in securities) and Type 4 (Advising on securities) licenses from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (HKSFC), the bank “soft launched its intelligent wealth solution GoWealth Digital Wealth Advisory (GoWealth) for selected customers, with the public launch scheduled for the near future.”

GoWealth is WeLab Bank’s wealth management advisory solution “which capitalizes on the investment expertise by Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI), one of the world’s leading asset management firms.”

The two industry pioneers announced “a strategic collaboration early last year, aiming to combine their expertise in fintech and investment management, as well as their deep understanding about the financial needs and habits of Hong Kong people for the Bank to create a brand-new seamless intelligent wealth advisory experience for the city.”

Unlike most of the wealth management solutions in the market which are risk-based, GoWealth claims that it will take “a tailored goal-based approach to offer personalized intelligent advisory services to customers, seamlessly and intuitively through [their] mobile app.”

Interested customers can now “preview GoWealth’s interface and get a taste of the goal-setting flow in the WeLab Bank app.”

Other functions, such as investment advisory, transaction and goal management, will “be open to all customers at the public launch.”

More details of GoWealth will be “unveiled closer to the public launch in the coming months.”

Professor KC Chan, Chairman of WeLab Bank, believes that GoWealth “will become the personalized intelligent wealth advisor at our customers’ fingertips.”

KC Chan stated:

“Although Hong Kong enjoys abundant wealth solutions options, according to the findings of a third-party survey*, only 1/3 of locals have access to professional financial advice, indicating a substantial unmet needs of wealth management in the market. In view of this, WeLab Bank has leveraged fintech to fill up the gap in wealth management market by designing a personalized intelligent wealth management advisory solution for all, assisting customers to achieve financial goals with ease.”

To better understand the financial management behaviors and needs of Hong Kong people, WeLab Bank and AllianzGI have “commissioned independent market research agency Nielsen to conduct an online survey, in which 1,000 respondents, aged 20-59 and with a monthly household income no less than HKD 15,000, were interviewed about their goals and struggles on their financial journeys.”

70% are “unsure if their current financial plans would help achieve financial goals.”

The survey revealed that 81% of the respondents “have clear financial goals.”

The most popular options are: “to leave their jobs and spend a year on realizing dreams (33%) and to achieve financial independence before age 50 (33%).”

Despite having clear financial goals, “more than half of them have no idea about how to achieve them.”

As noted in the update shared with CI, 65% “don’t have a clear picture of their portfolio composition and performance.”

The survey also found that Hong Kong people “generally allocate 20% of their income to savings and investments, but 65% admitted that they are not clear about their investment portfolio composition and its performance, and are not sure whether their investment and savings are capable of achieving their financial goals.”

Additionally, 50% of the respondents “think they need professional financial advice but have no access to it.”

WeLab Bank and AllianzGI believe that many Hong Kong people “are not certain whether their saving and investment portfolios are effective.”

However, as they have no access to professional financial advice, easy-to-use wealth management platforms or wealth management tools with transparent charges, they “can only resort to risk their financial planning by saving ‘blindly’, which may result in drifting further away from their financial goals.”

Philip Tso, Head of Institutional Business for Asia Pacific at AllianzGI, suggested that Hong Kong people “should begin with a practical financial goal, then achieve it through a systematic approach.”

Tso remarked:

“The momentum of saving and investment is significantly affected by the achievability of the financial goals. People should take a goal-based approach, breaking down a big goal into several smaller, easier goals. With persistence, everyone can build up a powerful habit of saving and investment, and achieve bigger goals step by step.”

Tso also pointed out that goal-based digital wealth advisory solutions “are in great demand in Hong Kong, according to the survey results.”

This demand led WeLab Bank to team up with AllianzGI’s expertise in digital investment solutions, “to help tackle the pain points of Hong Kong people and assisting them to achieve their financial goals through GoWealth.”

Tso also mentioned:

“We are excited to collaborate with WeLab Bank to launch GoWealth, enabling agility and predictability in wealth management through digital-led asset allocation and monitoring.”

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