The LLB plans to attract more small investors in Switzerland and Liechtenstein with its new digital app. It’s a step in the right direction.

Liechtensteinische Landesbank (LLB) has made its new mobile app “wiLLBe” available for download in the Google and Apple App Stores. The app provides access to sustainable investments and makes private banking services available.

Sustainable investments regulated in Liechtenstein

Through wiLLBe, investors in Switzerland and Liechtenstein can invest in sustainable investment products via smartphone for as little as CHF 2,000. Investors can choose from seven investment categories based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Assets invested through wiLLBe are treated as Liechtenstein-based assets and thus subject to national and European financial regulations such as MiFID.

The app is different from many other mobile offerings because the investments are based on asset management mandates. That means LLB actively invests clients’ assets in individual securities for a fixed annual fee of 0.49 percent of the assets under management.

Another difference to apps such as Volt by the Zurich-based bank Vontobel is that there is no digital-physical interaction. With Volt, clients can use the app but also get access to consulting services. WiLLBe, on the other hand, does not offer any consulting services directly through the app.

Simple KYC for retail investors

So far, the app is only available in Liechtenstein and Switzerland and only as a mobile version. The expansion into other markets is planned, although it’s not yet clear where. A rollout in Germany and Austria would make sense, as those are German-speaking markets. That, however, will likely depend on the app’s initial success in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. A rollout on desktop is also planned, but a concrete timeline has not yet been provided.

Users can easily open an account digitally, which takes just a few minutes. Identification for most users happens via a selfie and photo of the user’s ID. Hence, the video identification that was once common with many financial services is not required. However, clients with assets of CHF 150,000 or more need to provide additional documentation to LLB for legal and regulatory reasons.

Democratizing banking services

The app also contributes to democratizing private banking services, which used to be available only for wealthy clients. At least partly: Wealth management clients still enjoy much more tailored and exclusive services, especially when it comes to investment consulting and advisory. LLB is also heavily investing in a marketing campaign to bring the app to market.

Banking apps used to be the realm of so-called Neobanks that offer only digital services without any physical bank branches. In recent years traditional banks like LLB have started to catch up with the digital trend and bring their apps to market. It remains to be seen whether they can leverage the strength of a hybrid digital-physical offering or if banking services will become more digital-only while physical branches continue to disappear.

Image: (c) Shutterstock