Bluerating | May 2023

The Italian market of financial consultancy and the Italian market of asset management are inextricably bound. However, for a long time, they have been based on two different, if complementary, service models: the service model of financial networks and the service model of traditional banks.

The service model of financial networks has been enjoying a growing success over the past ten years. Similarly, the service model of traditional banks is currently living a new spring, aided by the rate hike and the presence of skillful managers in charge.

It is worth noting that financial networks have notoriously been drawing new resources from the pool of bankers, which is very large and resilient and thus does not seem to be affected.

However, just when everything seemed to work smoothly with healthy coexistence and competition for all parties involved, suddenly a dark cloud appears on the horizon. 

An apple, rather than a cloud. And not any apple, but Apple with a capital A – in collaboration with Goldman Sachs, Apple launched a new deposit account called Apple Savings.

Apple Savings is a deposit account with an annual return of 4,15%. At the moment, Apple Savings is available only in the United States for clients living on the American territory. However, the goal is to launch it in Europe as well.

Apple Savings is linked to Apple Card: once a client has created a deposit account, they can decide to have their Daily Cash – that is, up to 3% daily cash back granted by Apple Card since its launch – automatically deposited into Savings.

Apple Savings has no commissions, minimum deposit, or minimum balance requirements. Thus, Apple Savings does not require that clients keep a minimum amount of money in their savings accounts, and it is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), responsible for saving SVB depositors’ accounts. 

The maximum balance amounts to 250.000 dollars. However, money cannot be spent from the Apple account directly; instead, money has to be transferred to another checking account or to Apple Cash.

Clearly, with the current rates and the high value of the brand equity of Apple (which outdistanced Meta), Apple Savings can be an irresistible attraction for a new segment of bank clients.

All this, when the United States are witnessing the irrepressible flight from leading traditional banks, which have been suffering from the outflow from deposits of billions of dollars in the first trimester alone.

In Italy, banks – both based on networks of financial advisors and traditional ones – are infinitely more solid and trustworthy than American banks. Therefore, no mass exodus from Italian banks is even remotely imaginable.

However, Apple Savings is not going to remain an isolated case. And this invites the whole system of financial consultancy, banks, and asset management companies to reflect.

In fact, competitive advantages are currently melting like snow in the sun. Thus, today even the most solid realities cannot fail to question themselves daily and look for the most efficient solution for their clients.

In this sense, some of the most astute banks operating in Italy are currently investing in solutions generating a competitive advantage that will soon become tangible.

Other banks, on the other hand, are still under the illusion that all needs to change in order for everything to remain the same.

Nicola Ronchetti