Investment bankers want that millennial dough

Investment bankers want that millennial dough
FILE PHOTO: Souvenir tokens representing cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the Ethereum network, with its native token ether, plunge into water in this illustration taken May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Younger generations are made up of a weird set of investors. Instead of stashing cash under their mattress like in the good ol’ days or investing in stocks and bonds, they’re putting their money into digital investments, like cryptocurrencies, NFTs and, of course, meme stocks.

But Hong Kong banks are looking to loop millennials and zoomers into more traditional finances. It isn’t just that they want those sweet, sweet investment dollars (though, they absolutely do), but it’s also that they think younger generations need more guidance when it comes to investing.

So, they’re rolling out programs to help ease younger investors into responsible banking. One way they’re doing this is by offering wealth-management services through apps. The idea here is to compete with the trading apps that became popular during the pandemic (think Robinhood). They’re also working on special incentives for younger people, like zero subscription fees for a period, mainly because young people tend to be more worried about fees and minimums.

But younger investors don’t always see their investments as misguided. For one, many of them don’t trust the banking and investment institutions they grew up with, especially those that led to that whole financial crisis in 2008. Instead, they’d rather do their own research, make their own calculations and, if need be, deal with losses on their own.

On top of that, plenty of young investors have faith in crypto and blockchain tech, and many have even found a sense of community through trading NFTs or meme stocks. This sense of community isn’t as easily found dealing with an investment banker on the 30th floor of a skyscraper.

What’s the key here? Well, it’s the tech – and the apps.

People from Gen Z to millennials say that accessibility to an app that helps them manage their assets is the best way to go. That’s why big banks like HSBC are working on building out apps and fitting them with virtual wealth coaches. That way, people can invest from the comfort of their own phones.

“Nowadays, nobody wants to do a phone call, they just text each other,” explains Maggie Ng, head of wealth and personal banking for Hong Kong at HSBC.