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Standard Chartered to hike minimum wealth required for private banking clients

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Standard Chartered is looking to more than double the minimum wealth needed to become a private banking client at the firm.

In a pitch to ultra-high-net-worths, the London-based bank is planning to hike its investable asset minimum from $2m (£1.6m) to $5m (£4m), while focusing its attention on clients above the $30m (£24m) mark, according to the Financial Times.

The Financial Times says the move is likely to lead to redundancies among those advising the bank’s less wealthy clients, drawing parallels with moves JPMorgan Chase made in 2016 when it let go 30 relationship managers across Asia as it reduced its client pool to higher end clients.

Standard Chartered is eyeing a new $250m digital platform investment, and is understood to be planning new senior appointments, but confirmed earlier this week that 11 more junior bankers had left its Hong Kong office the week before.

Other banks are aiming to target more mass market clients. Santander, for example, launched a direct to consumer platform last year.

HSBC said it wanted to offer advice via video last year, as it said it was planning to launch an investment advice arm that would cater for individuals with less than £50,000 to invest, which could  eventually serve customers with just £15,000.

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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

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