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Bank launches digital wealth platform in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong arm of a US-based financial services company and bank has unveiled ‘Citi Plus’ a digital wealth platform that offers a range of investment products including mutual funds mostly as well as stocks and money market funds. The target client segment is “digital natives” – which usually refers to people born after 1980 who have grown up with computers, the internet, video game consoles, mobile phones and social media.

The offering was piloted in December 2020. Millennials were invited to participate in research and the co-creation process, through which the bank was better able to address target clients’ pain points and help them grow their wealth via the new service.

This is the first time that the bank has used a digital wealth platform in Asia to distribute its funds directly to investors. Through this, firstly, the partner can reach a new segment of clients who, in turn, now have easy access to the funds. Secondly, it allows a much broader group of people to start investing. As traditional impediments to ease of investing have been taken away, users can transact any time via an easy-to-use app and in investment amounts as low as HK$100.

The funds will continue to be distributed through traditional wholesale channels, such as banks and recommended lists, while it is believed that “digital technology will enable distribution and these innovative models will only increase in the future”.

In addition, the investment firm is successfully developing a new wholesale model which combines the technology, separately managed accounts and our best-in-class funds to help wealth managers.

Other features

A key tool of Citi Plus is a series of modules designed to educate clients when it comes to making decisions about managing money, building wealth and achieving financial goals.

For instance, “wealth smart” is a financial literacy guide covering a series of easy-to-follow courses and quizzes, with bite-sized content that helps clients level-up and approach investments with greater confidence.

“Wealth digest”, a personalised series of news, articles and insights on wealth, and “money goal”, a tracking tool that helps clients define financial objectives and monitor their progress, will be available later this year.

Other financial services already accessible through the Citi mobile app include, “interest booster”, which enables clients to earn additional interest on savings; “flexi wealth”, which allows people to start investing in money market funds with as little as HK$1; and a “global wallet” for clients to exchange foreign currencies at preferred rates without paying handling fees, according to Citibank.

Fintech rebounds in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong FinTech Buzz Index (FBI) is a quarterly index that represents a quantified sentiment of the local FinTech-related news articles in local Chinese news media.

According to the 2,426 news articles analysed in the last quarter of 2020 (October to December), the Hong Kong FBI for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 rebounds to 103.6, a sharp increase of 10.1 index points (or 10.8%) from the third quarter. Year-on-year (YoY) change is increased by 2.3 index points (or 2.27%).

All six sectoral indices moved upward mainly because of a series of activities between Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. Among six sectors, the Blockchain & Cryptocurrency sectoral index recorded the largest increase of 32.2 index points (or 47.4%) because of the completion of the first batch of blockchain-based cross-border trade transactions and the first trade finance transaction upon the connection of Hong Kong’s innovative trade finance platform eTradeConnect and the Mainland’s Trade Finance Platform.

A roadmap developed by HKMA to promote RegTech adoption in the Hong Kong banking sector announced in the HK FinTech Week also brought good news to the RegTech & Cybersecurity sub-sector.

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