Swiss bank taps Synpulse-led consortium for OpenWealth platform

28 October 2020 3 min. read

St. Galler Kantonalbank has launched a process to develop APIs that can connect its custodian bank services with external asset managers. The project is supported by management consultancy Synpulse, alongside several external industry players.

The Swiss bank conducted research in collaboration with Synpulse, revealing that external asset managers and WealthTech companies agree on one thing: A standardised set of APIs shared by asset managers and their custodian banks can boost efficiency and enhance customer experience.

“An open API standard in asset management enables new business models. Innovative, inexpensive and user-friendly asset management offerings for a wide audience provide all those involved in such an ecosystem with manifold advantages,” explained Simon Alioth, Associate partner and Head of Open Banking at Synpulse.

Key to such a scenario is to get all stakeholders on board – WealthTechs, asset managers, and custodian banks. In this specific initiative: St Galler Kantonalbank represents the banking community; Swiss companies Assetmax, Advice Online and Alphasys form the pool of WealthTechs; while asset management companies Consensus Partner and B&M Wealth Management have also joined in.

Swiss bank taps Synpulse-led consortium for OpenWealth platform

Managing the efforts is Synpulse – a highly experienced financial services consulting firm that has taken the lead in leading the collaboration. The firm’s objective is leverage its broad network of clients and range of standardisation efforts to develop a coordinated and consolidated OpenWealth API community.

“We are investing in the development of the OpenWealth API Community, as we are convinced that Open Banking will establish itself comprehensively as a strategic thrust for banks. In this environment, we can use our strengths to support banks from strategy definition and evaluation to implementation of the appropriate API platform,” explained Raphael Bianchi, Synpulse partner and Head of Business in Switzerland.

Open Banking uses APIs to connect several financial products and functions, allowing users to seamlessly transition from one domain to the other. Given its potential to enhance efficiency and consumer experience, Open Banking has taken hold among some of Europe’s largest banks, as they look to align their digital capabilities with the new paradigm.

Keen on a piece of the pie, St. Galler Kantonalbank is looking to get in on the ground floor when it comes to standardised OpenWealth APIs. Head of Digital Banking Falk Kohlman acknowledged that the effectiveness of such a set up relies on wide stakeholder participation, but expressed faith in Synpulse to secure the same.

“The provision of our custodian bank services as an API will enable us to better integrate into various portfolio management systems and thus increase the customer experience for our external asset managers and gain efficiency. We are convinced that the advantages for everyone involved are increased further if the API connection is used by as many as possible. In order to develop the planned OpenWealth APIs into a standard with broad acceptance, we therefore rely on the experience of Synpulse,” said Kohlman.