Ex-Credit Suisse Bankers Launch Roboadvisor with Sex Appeal

Werthstein, digital wealth management, Credit Suisse, Bastian Lossen, Giles Keating, Felix Roescheisen

Former Credit Suisse top bankers are poised to launch a new digital wealth manager, finews.asia has learned. The business model is unusual and – for once – truly innovative.

Zurich’s Beethovenstrasse is home to a new roboadvisor called Werthstein. The founders behind the project are well-known former Swiss bankers, finews.asia has learned.

Bastian Lossen, Credit Suisse’s long-time marketing head, is co-founder and chief executive of Werthstein. Giles Keating, prominent former Credit Suisse research head who departed in June after more than 30 years, is on the new firm’s board.

Felix Roescheisen, until June head of sales management in retail and private banking at Hypovereinsbank, is also a Werthstein founder.

Walter Berchtold on Board

Werthstein has other prominent Credit Suisse backers: former private banking boss Walter Bechtold is part of the firm’s advisory board, as is Michael Stemmle, a leading Swiss fintech entrepreneur. Stemmle has long had ties with Credit Suisse as a co-founder and head of Additiv, a service provider to the Swiss bank.

Lossen confirmed to finews.asia that Werthstein is poised to enter the digital wealth market. The firm will launch in coming weeks in Germany, as well as in Switzerland at a later date.

The «Economist» with a Trading Button

Behind the company’s robust name, Werthstein has created a new approach in digital wealth management. The firm combines a multimedia platform with portfolio management, and in doing so makes robots in wealth management a reality.

«The initial idea was a sort of «Economist» with a trading button», Lossen said. A roboadvisor with the intellectual sex appeal of the renowned weekly news magazine.

Ideas into Investments

Roboadvisors actually pose a rather uneventful experience for clients: a faceless algorithm calculates risk-adjusted portfolios from client profiles and buys and sells securities and investments according to instructions and market movements, and ideally can present them to clients on a digital screen.

Roboadvisors are invisible, as are their investment decisions.

Werthstein mobile

Werthstein mobile

Werthstein has chosen another direction: the marketing is an integral part in that investment ideas hand-picked by financial professionals and presented on a multimedia platform are formed into investment solutions that a client can choose with the touch of a button.

«Our approach is that clients invest in a story, not in key financial data,» Lossen said.

Casting Show

This is where Giles Keating (pictured below) enters the scene: as head of the so-called Werthstein Institute, he presents investment ideas along with other market experts and economists. They include HSBC’s former head of global research Bronwyn Curtis or German securities journalist Stefan Risse.

Giles Keating

An investment idea’s pros and cons are debated in a talk-style format, with the experts deciding in a voting round which proposal is the best.

Mobile Onboarding

Werthstein clients can watch the clips on their smartphone and decide – by pressing a button – whether to add the investment idea to their portfolio. The digital portfolio manager, provided by Additiv’s Digital Finance Suite, carries out the adjustment to the client’s portfolio.

The firm’s aim is to make it as easy as possible for clients to engage. Prospective clients can onboard via a smartphone, and it takes a few minutes to open an account. Werthstein is working with Baader Bank in Germany as its custodian. The wealth manager is otherwise independent.

Free Wealth Management

The business model is an entirely new one: all wealth management services are free of charge. Clients pay for Werthstein’s content on a subscription, which costs several hundred Swiss francs annually.

As a result, Werthstein isn’t looking for partnerships in finance, but in the media scene. Investment broadcasting is a promising sector, as examples such as «CNBC» and «n-tv» show.

Werthstein stands a good chance of striking deals with major media houses, according to Lossen. This would enable the wealth manager to leverage considerable marketing power.

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