New digital-first bank – Monument – coming to the UK, to meet the needs of professionals, property investors and entrepreneurs
Monument today reveals that it is in the latter stages of its application for a banking licence. Monument plans to launch the bank of choice for the overlooked and underserved market of millions of mass affluent clients in the UK who have a net worth of between £250k and £5m.
The client demographic – spanning traditional ‘premier’ and private banking customers – busy professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs and investors – has been largely unaddressed by the challenger bank boom in the UK until now and underserved by premier and private banking.
Digital-first bank, Monument – whose executives and board have held senior roles in HSBC, Barclays, McKinsey & Co, UBS, Goldman Sachs , Apollo Global Management, PWC, Coutts and the UK regulators, amongst others – will offer savings and property investment lending products to clients, with cutting edge technology enabling entirely digital app-based and online services.
Monument will be the only bank to offer its clients an entirely digital journey for buy-to-let and property investment lending of up to £2million. It will offer market leading, top quartile savings rates and its model is designed to reward loyalty. So, if a saver deposits money for a subsequent fixed term, they will get a better rate than a new customer.
Monument’s proposition will marry modern technology with exceptional client service. Monument will empower its clients to choose how they interact with the bank. They will be able to choose an entirely digital banking experience and use live chat, video and co-browsing features for simple and superior digital client support. And clients will also have the option to speak to and ultimately – in a post-COVID world – meet with its highly capable relationship managers in city-centre Monument Lounges. Banking with Monument will be highly personalised and tailored for each individual client and their preferences.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, demand for digital interaction has soared and the shift to remote working has demonstrated the potential for an innovative digital banking model, serving customers using technology. In this context, Monument will intend to meet the needs of a poorly served demographic with a digital-first offering when it launches.
Whilst COVID-19 will no doubt have exacerbated the situation further, in building its business over the last 18 months Monument conducted multiple surveys, interviewing over 1,800 people in the mass affluent demographic. And one of those surveys revealed that 93 percent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their current banking provider. The conclusions from the research were that there is a clear opportunity for a new provider who genuinely understands this segment, values its members’ time, and appreciates what they have achieved whilst acknowledging and supporting their ambitions.
Monument’s vision is to build a dynamic, forward-thinking bank that delivers exceptional client service and has traditional values of trust, security and strength at its heart. It will also be a bank designed to make the most of modern cloud and microservices technology – which enables a plug and play approach to new tech innovations as they are developed and as client requirements evolve – to deliver unparalleled speed, efficiency, convenience and transparency.
Over £10 million has been raised by Monument Corporation in seed funding thus far, with working capital for about 15 months.
Mintoo Bhandari, CEO and one of the founders of Monument, said: “We never planned to launch a bank during a global pandemic. But it turns out – as we now find ourselves in the latter stages of the regulatory approval process – the timing is highly relevant. Clients want the ability to bank effectively at their convenience and wherever they are, on their phone or computer and more robustly than they would have imagined possible just last year.
“Increasingly, private banking is focused on the ultra-high net worth and lags when it comes to embracing modern technology. And Premier banking really only exists in name only. We recognise there is a substantial community who deserve far more than they currently experience from their existing bank. Within this underserved segment are doctors working tirelessly through the pandemic, lawyers and accountants working remotely around the clock to help clients navigate the situation, and entrepreneurs and founders of scaling businesses that are crucial employers and represent the future of our economy. They do not experience the level of care and attention from banks that they deserve and expect, and that they deliver to their own clients, especially in these challenging circumstances. Neither do they feel that their loyalty is appreciated.
“Our goal is to create an institution that truly understands this community, treats their time as more valuable than its own, appreciates their loyalty, helps them save and grow their wealth, but which also recognises that there is more to wealth than money.”
Wasim Khouri, Chief Strategy Officer of Monument Corporation, said: “We are born at a time when the option of a digital-first service is needed more than ever before, and the challenges for existing providers to deliver this and meet their clients’ needs is more exposed than ever. In fact, demand for and comfort with digital has gone through a five-year transformation in just three months.
“We know this is true because clients have told us about the pain points they experience and, as a management team – with a track record not seen in other start-up banks – we are part of this group: we understand what it is to provide excellent client service, and crucially we understand too what it is like to be on the receiving end. That’s why we have created Monument: a bank that marries modern technology with exceptional client service.”
Monument formally submitted its application for a banking licence in December 2019 and is currently going through the latter stages of the regulatory approval process.