Alpian partners with Fideuram: Alessandro Sbrizzi on why meaningful partnerships matter
Alpian has just announced its new partnership with Fideuram – Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking. But what value can this partnership be expected to bring to Alpian’s future customers, and why is the right partner crucial in this stage of Alpian’s development? We spoke to Alpian’s Chief of Staff, Strategic Projects, Alessandro Sbrizzi about the joint future of the two companies.
What role do partnerships with other banks play in building a new bank?
We saw the advantages of this kind of partnership with industrial players early on, when collaborating with Reyl & Cie: For Alpian to partner with a player like Fideuram Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking means we get to see up close how to design a process that serves tens of thousands of customers. It’s like seeing the end stage of what we’re trying to build, from the inside. Furthermore, such a partnership can give us invaluable insights into the other party’s pain points and learnings. We get to learn from the errors of others, which is important when building a technology.
We are leveraging top-notch knowledge on customer needs, industry trends and communication strategies. And of course there is the reputational advantage when approaching stakeholders and in third party contracting.
From our partner’s perspective, Alpian provides access to dynamic and entrepreneurially driven teams: They get a first row seat in observing how an organization in the same industry can grow by leveraging innovative technologies. Plus, they get to offer new attractive projects to employees looking for new challenges.
Why did you choose Fideuram for this partnership?
Fideuram Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking was a natural partner for Alpian after their acquisition of Reyl & Cie, the bank that has incubated us. There is a clear alignment in vision and long-term strategy based on customer-centricity, investment in innovative technologies and talent management. They showed from our very first interaction a strong interest in working together, trusting us even before we were mature enough to initiate a collaboration. The collaboration plan we put together was ambitious but gave Alpian room to grow and to learn how to closely work with an institutional partner.
How will the partnership enhance Alpian’s offerings?
We are learning how each banking process is focused on enhancing HNWI customer satisfaction, how services are prioritized and problems can be addressed. We see the critical pain points in the digital onboarding and we can accordingly re-focus our customer journey. And moreover, Alpian can leverage the investment network and capabilities of a group with close to 350Bn in Assets under Management (AuM).
What does this partnership mean for future Alpian clients?
Alpian’s solutions and offerings will be broader, such as in terms of investment offerings. We will be able to count on the experience and knowledge of a stronger partner able to sustain growth and enable a more ambitious product roadmap.
Why are such partnerships essential in building a bank?
These partnerships are not necessarily essential – we have seen other neo-banks that decided to launch their services without any partnership, such as Revolut or Monzo. However, it’s true that successful digital wealth management initiatives have been launched in partnership with or by established industrial players, e.g. Nutmeg (JP Morgan) or Marcus (Goldman Sachs).
A possible explanation is that to succeed in offering premium services, the Mass Affluent industry knowledge and experience of established players is more important than price convenience or the range of service offerings.
What are perhaps the challenges in creating such a partnership?
Alpian had to initially learn a new way of working. We needed to work shoulder to shoulder with a more experienced traveling companion. Many times, 2-3 people from our side saw themselves working with 15-20 colleagues from our partner’s side, who were curious about what we were doing but at the same time also responsible for running their current business.
We had to start from scratch – again – while in Switzerland, our company was completing the last steps needed to launch our banking services.
Defining a clear scope is another challenge. As soon as trust with our partner was established, we saw the potential of the collaboration and have been attracted by several different streams of work. Remaining focused on the business priorities was a critical activity and remains critical today.