I’ve had the privilege of witnessing two births in the past year. One of them was my daughter, Eliza, that my amazing wife gave birth to in October. The other was a more metaphorical event, but after a gestation period of over four years, Capital International Bank was born on the 27th May last year when it was awarded its full Class 1(2) banking licence. It was then christened at its launch event in late June.
I won’t overly labour the comparisons between the two events, but at both levels the past year has been characterised by less sleep than I would have wished for and some milestones that I will always remember. Like any new father, the feelings of exhilaration, exhaustion and pride combine to create a potent cocktail that energises you through the challenges of the early days.
Also like fatherhood, new banks don’t come with an instruction manual, so the past year has been one of growth, challenge and discovery. However, the bank is fit, healthy and has taken its first steps into the world of digital corporate banking. My most pleasing take-away from the past year has been the reception we’ve had from our new banking clients. We built the bank in particular around the needs of the fiduciary and eGaming sectors and whilst there have been a few bumps in the road here and there, the feedback from our clients has not only spurred us on but also contributed to the bank’s development priorities. Much like an iPhone has an iOS update every few weeks, our teams are working constantly to assess and prioritise the interface and functionality improvements that we release every month, guided by feedback from our clients.
So, one year on, what have we learned?
Well, the first thing we’ve learned is that the business case for our bank remains as strong today as it did when we started pulling the ideas for a new bank together in January 2017. From the 65 research meetings in 8 different countries that I undertook, a few themes came through loud and clear.
One frustration that cropped up time and time again among our target clientele was around opening accounts. We learned that the worst case scenario for clients was the ‘slow no’. If the answer is no, say it quickly. If the answer is yes, have an account open in days not months. Our record so far is 24 hours for an eGaming account from enquiry to account opening and every week we’re turning new enquiries into new accounts within the same week, many within a couple of days.
By extension, this then leads to matters relating to risk. The existence of risk should not necessarily be a blocker to opening an account. It’s about having open communication with the client and leading-edge technology to price and manage risk accordingly. By focusing on sectors and jurisdictions that we understand, backed by leading digital controls, we can take informed, pragmatic risk decisions that support our key sectors of fiduciary and eGaming, amongst others.
We’ve also learned that we didn’t get everything right at the outset. Last month we revisited our fees tariffs, which among other things, served to make our FX offering more competitive and since then, we’ve seen a doubling of the average deal size that’s gone through. For those clients that are going to be trading more than £2m or currency equivalent every year, we’re also happy to look at bespoke pricing so you won’t need to shop around for rates and can trade with confidence directly through our VELTA platform.
The human touch is also important, even with a digital banking proposition. We’ve recently changed our operating model so that once a Business Development Manager has agreed to proceed with an account application with a client, they will conduct a warm handover of the client to our Relationship Consultants who will act as a single point of contact to assist with the online documentation submission, right through to getting the account open, mandates set up and ensuring our new clients are fully up to speed on the functionality of VELTA. This hybrid combination of leading-edge technology supported by people at key touchpoints is a winning formula.
Like any new parent, I could go on and on…
As Capital International Bank grows, we will continue to learn and adapt. Our mission is to become the dominant offshore bank by 2028. Dominant doesn’t necessarily mean biggest, but we want to become the ‘go to’ bank for clients in the offshore markets that demand something better, something that makes their money work better for them. This passion is what fuels us every day, to make money work better for our clients, for our people and for our communities. And remember, for every account we open, we plant a tree in the Isle of Man and in Africa as part of our Group goal to become carbon neutral by the end of 2025. We plant the trees ourselves, we get our hands dirty.
To our clients, partners and counterparties that have supported us along the way, thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you. To those who want to get onboard with a new force in corporate banking, please get in touch, we’d be delighted to help you. www.capital-iom.com/bank
Happy 1st Birthday Capital International Bank!
Capital International Bank Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital International Group Limited (www.capital-iom.com), a privately owned financial services group based in the Isle of Man. Capital International Bank Limited operates as a non-retail, restricted deposit taker under a Class 1 (2) licence issued by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority. Deposits are not covered by the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme and terms and conditions apply.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts and opinions expressed within this article are those of the author, and not those of any company within the Capital International Group (CIG) and as such are neither given nor endorsed by CIG. Information in this article does not constitute investment advice or an offer or an invitation by or on behalf of any company within the Capital International Group of companies to buy or sell any product or security or to make a bank deposit.