Banco BiG, founded in Portugal, started operations in Spain in 2020. How has the bank developed this year?
As mentioned in our launch communication to the market in November 2020, BiG's objective in the Spanish market is to provide best in-class investment and saving solutions. Our digital focus centered on providing Clients with a variety of different solutions tailored to each person's specific risk tolerance helps us to satisfy their various needs. Despite having started in a challenging environment with the advent of COVID-19, given that the Bank was created with a focus on combining professional customer service from our office in Madrid aided by technology, we believe the current environment is one that favors our type of setup – digital base with human support when needed.
What sets BiG apart from other banks to invest?
Where we attempt to set BiG apart is our absolute focus on investment and savings solutions. We are not a universal bank, but rather a specialized bank where our sole preoccupation is to assist our Clients with their investment and savings decisions. Banco BiG is the bank you go to save and invest, with more than 20 years of experience serving customers and creating solutions. We have the ambition to be become a reference in the savings and investment segment in Spain. Each person has certain objectives and a certain lifestyle. Consequently, we aim to be their financial partner so that Clients have that peace of mind and can plan their future, managing their financial lives. This combination of a specialized banking model with A-to-Z investment and savings solutions, agile and simple technological tools and service from an experienced and professional team are out differentiators.
What strategy are you following to increase your customer base?
Whether individuals are investing for their children's education, depositing money for a rainy day, or looking for the best trading platform, BiG offers a variety of solutions that suit the most risk adverse Clients to the most risk seeking Clients. Wrapped in advanced yet simple technology framework serviced by an experienced Spanish based team in Madrid, we believe this is a very interesting proposition for prospective Clients. We currently offer a variety of different term deposits solutions, access to international stock and bond markets as well over 800 funds from third party international fund providers such as JPMorgan, Pictet, Invesco or PIMCO to name a few. Throughout 2022 we hope to add discretionary management services as well as investment advice for those Clients who do not wish to make their own investment decisions but rather delegate management to the team of professionals at BiG or work in collaboration with BiG's team to identify the best investment solutions to fit the Client's specific needs. We do not sell products; here, we assist clients in finding what best suits them. An experienced investor might prefer trading platforms whilst a less experienced one might prefer deposits and mutual funds. However, the general idea is that one should investing and save for the future. By establishing BiG as an entity with solutions for Clients that want a “DIY – Do it Yourself” approach, Clients that want our direct advice or Clients that want to delegate management to BiG, there is an option for all that want to invest and save. BiG is your One Stop Shop for Investing and Saving and as such we believe the value proposition to continue to grow is strong.
For new clients, you offer a three-month deposit at 1% TAE (1% APR), which is extremely interesting to attract customers from other banks. What has been the reception like?
The reception has been very positive and encouraging. As a new bank entering the Spanish market, we have utilized this 3-month deposit at 1% TAE as a low-risk way to invite prospective Clients to try the Bank's services and see the difference. While we have been operating in other Countries for over 20 years and are regulated by the Bank of Spain and National Securities Market Commission, Spanish Clients do not know us, and we understand it takes time to build credibility and trust – we are here for the long run and so we hope to gain this trust over time. We do not have any “catches” related to this deposit as we have always tried to be as transparent as possible with Clients to build trust and because we believe we have an interesting offering that will keep Clients with us after this promotional deposit. We have managed to retain over 63% of Client deposits because we take care of our client concerns and because we have very interesting alternative saving solutions. Spain is an extremely competitive market for Banking services, but we believe we can gain market share by having full focus in the investing and savings segment as we provide the agility that some larger universal banks have difficulty providing.
The bank offers two investment platforms: Simple Trading and Advanced Trading. Can you elaborate on their main characteristics?
When establishing our investment offering, we quickly understood that there are two different type of investors – traders and investors. While the former has very demanding needs regarding trading platform functionalities such as graphic / technical analysis setups, real-time quotes, multiple order types along others, the investor prefers non-levered products, such as mutual funds and stock, long-terms orientated search functions and investment content. Therefore, we have offered two different environments. One is not better than the other, they are just more appealing to traders or investors.
Other banks talk about the difficulty of finding good talent and retaining it. How do you manage to attract and retain talent?
While we believe we have good technology and products, our people make the difference. When dealing with people's life savings, we believe it is important to have a professional and qualified staff to ensure customer satisfaction. Because of this belief, we are focused on ensuring our team in Spain is motivated to help serve our customers. We have an interesting project in Spain – to launch a Bank that we hope to become a reference in the investing and savings segment. While it is a new Bank in the market, it is aided by the over 20 years of experience in this business in other geographies. Our staff in Spain has joined to help BiG build this Bank – an opportunity that is not very common, to be able to shape the future of the investment and savings offering in Spain. A key part of ensuring retention is to give responsibility to our people to contribute from day one and be outcome orientated in a structure that has a solid foundation and which motivated and driven people with integrity can add to.
What are Banco BiG's goals for 2022?
We want to build on our strong beginning in the Spanish market and continue to expand our offering to provide investment advisory and discretionary managed accounts. This will go a long way to complete our investment and savings offering. Overall, we hope to contribute to enhance financial literacy amongst the Spanish population, raising awareness regarding the need to invest and save. By providing education around investing, our objective is to grow our client base through thought leadership and solutions that help solve Client needs.