New digital-first bank Monument gets the green light from regulators
Monument, the digital-first bank focused on the mass affluent, has today received the green light from regulators. The UK regulatory authorities, the Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority, have lifted deposit restrictions on Monument’s licence, so it can now operate as a fully-licensed deposit taking bank.
Monument is the first neo-bank to be launched in the UK specifically to meet the unmet demands of mass affluent clients – approximately 4.8 million professionals, entrepreneurs, property investors and others – who are seeking a bank to help them save and grow their wealth (which is estimated at c.¬£6 trillion).
Monument is uniquely focused on the needs of the mass-affluent and will demonstrate through its exceptional service, that it treats their time as more valuable than its own.
“We are very excited to take our first steps of addressing the substantial, aspirational, hard-working, asset-rich but time-poor community which holds trillions in wealth in the UK and which lacks the right financial services partner. We will be entirely focused on understanding our clients’ needs and providing them with great service, enabled by technology, which we think will set a new standard. Our goal is to create an institution that truly understands this community, helps them save and grow their wealth, but which also recognises that there is more to wealth than money. Today marks an important step for us towards achieving that goal as we launch for clients as a fully-licensed bank”, said Mintoo Bhandari, CEO of Monument.
The Bank has raised ¬£60 million in capital to date having successfully completed one of the largest Series A funding rounds in fintech-banking earlier this year and including its current fundraising round (which is shortly to close having exceeded ¬£20m). Monument has attracted investment from highly-experienced investors, including respected figures in venture capital, private equity, fintech and real estate.
The bank was originally seeded by Vikash Gupta, Ashish Vasudeva and Rajat Sharma, the “V, A and R” of VAR Capital, a multi-family office. Rajat Sharma, the CIO of VAR Capital and a co-founder, said “the affluent client base has long been neglected by the UK banks, as they do not fit into premier or private banking”.
At launch, the Bank is offering clients buy-to-let and bridging loans to support experienced and busy landlords to manage and grow their portfolios. Clients will be able to borrow up to ¬£3 million for buy-to-let property investments, supported by specialist relationship managers with deep experience of the market and understanding of client needs.
Monument will also offer easy access and various fixed term savings products very shortly, providing competitive rates which offer fair and flexible savings opportunities for individuals looking to save upwards of ¬£25,000. Monument’s approach to client loyalty is fundamentally different as well: if an existing saver deposits money for a subsequent fixed term, they will get a better rate than a new customer. And an existing borrower who renews their loan, or takes an additional loan, will also be offered a favourable rate.
Monument’s proposition marries exceptional client service with modern technology and as part of this it has developed an app which sits at the heart of its service. The app, shortly to be available on the App and Play store, will allow clients to open savings accounts in minutes, making the process one of the quickest in the market. Monument is continuing to develop its cloud-based, micro-services SaaS architecture, to set a new standard of experience for its clients.
Bhandari explained: “We are proud to bring to market an App that provides intuitive and highly efficient client onboarding and an immersive service experience. Through the App our clients will be able to interact with us by live chat, phone, video and email, and to switch between those channels at the touch of a finger.
Monument is designed to make the most of modern cloud and microservices technology – which enables a plug and play approach to new tech innovations as they are developed and as client requirements evolve – to deliver unparalleled speed, efficiency, convenience, and transparency.
The Bank – whose executives and board have held senior roles in HSBC, Barclays, McKinsey & Co, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Apollo Global Management, PWC, Coutts and the UK regulators, amongst others – received its “authorisation with restriction” license in October 2020. The removal of all restrictions today marks the successful completion of the last stage of the licensing journey – mobilisation – whereby Monument finished building the infrastructure and processes, expanded its team, and demonstrated to the regulators that it is ready for launch.
Potential clients can now register their interest and join the waiting list on the Monument website – https://www.monument.co/register/ – to ensure they are among the first to experience Monument and hear about the Bank’s future products and services.