Covering the space between high street banks and private banks – RIDE Capital interview

Friday 10 June 2022 08:24 CET | Editor: Claudia Pincovski | Interview

With fintechs gaining a rapid popularity, Christine Kiefer, founder of digital private bank RIDE Capital, offers insights on the way forward for banks, fintechs, and their users.

What is RIDE Capital for those who do not know it yet?

RIDE is a digital private bank offering services like tax structuring, tax advice, a free business bank account, and investments in alternative assets.

My co-founder Felix Schulte and I came up with the idea for RIDE when we were working on real estate projects in Berlin. Our friends, acquaintances, and business partners wanted to participate and had somewhat larger amounts of capital to invest. Along the way, we realised that many private investors are not familiar with holding structures, which could help to structure their shares and save on taxes.

While setting up holding structures are a common procedure in the private wealth sector and in the startup economy, the concept is not common knowledge for private investors. We believe that such concepts should be available to many more people, which is why we founded RIDE Capital.

How do your products and services differentiate from traditional financial services?

We are making services that were previously limited to high-net-worth individuals accessible to less wealthy, but still affluent customers. Our platform digitises and streamlines services that used to cost high hourly rates.

Traditional private banks usually only accept customers who have assets of at least USD 2 million because of high margin pressures. Meanwhile, RIDE is fully digital and accepts customers with a smaller amount of assets. This makes RIDE a considerably more accessible platform. We see ourselves not only as a financial service provider, but also as a financial education provider that offers education and advice via our web app, YouTube, and Instagram.

Many see big banks as competitors or as something that the new, digital banking, aims toreplace. What is your stance on this?

A part of the traditional banking world will surely be replaced by fintechs. However, there is a lot that traditional banks do better – risk management, compliance, and regulation, for example. The way forward for both is to cooperate. Fintechs can benefit from the expertise of traditional institutions, who in turn can not only survive but discover new customers by cooperating with new players. At RIDE, we can create added value as an infrastructure provider with our securities accounting service. This service is beneficial for tax consultants who want to automate their manual bookkeeping or banks that want to offer additional services.

Could you please portray the average RIDE Capital user?

The average RIDE client has investable assets of EUR 500,000 – 3 million. A typical portfolio contains a stock portfolio, real estate, crypto, and some alternative like LP stakes or tokenized assets.

The biggest challenge our customers face is that they don’t know where to turn to when looking for quality advice, for example, on portfolio allocation. High street banks only offer mainstream solutions, which is not suitable for our customers. However, tailored solutions such as in private banking are either too complex and/or too expensive. The typical RIDE client sits in this gap between high street banks and private banks.

What advice would you give to people that have the capital but not the ‘boost’ to enter this space of investments/wealth management?

Speak to us! We offer free consultations to anyone interested in our services. On top, we provide a lot of content on our social media channels, primarily YouTube and Instagram. We try to reduce the complexity of taxes and investing and make expert knowledge accessible in an entertaining way.

Christine, you mentioned that you have a background in IT. How does your professional background tie into the digital bank’s birth?

I have a background in computer science and business administration. Whenever I am annoyed by the price, the speed or the complexity of a service or process, I always wonder ‘How can this be simplified?’

For example, taxation in Germany is a pain, as are most government services. I have paid a fortune for tax advisors myself. My motivation for RIDE was foremost to solve my own problems and things that I am annoyed with. Our self-service app solves many of the issues that I encountered when I started to invest, and given my background, I see plenty of opportunities where technology can help.

One example is our securities accounting service. It automates the process of booking trades, which is otherwise done manually by tax advisors at a high hourly rate.

A potential business application for tokenization is tokenizing real assets. What is it and do you plan to offer this type of service any time soon?

Tokenization means transferring and splitting ownership of a tangible asset into tokens. These assets can be anything of value like real estate, art, also fine wine or luxury goods. A token is a digital contract. The most widely used blockchain for such tokens is the Ethereum blockchain.

At RIDE, we are expanding our range of services, and offering a greater variety of alternative assets is definitely part of the plan. Since my co-founder and I used to manage real estate projects together, I have a particular interest in the tokenization of real estate. The market here is also being democratised, and our approach of democratising financial services runs through everything we offer and develop at RIDE.

About Christine Kiefer

Christine Kiefer is one of the two co-founders and managing directors of RIDE, the first fintech startup to focus on real returns after taxes and costs. RIDE helps investors structure and manage their assets professionally.  Christine has been involved in building several fintechs, including Billpay and Pair Finance. In addition to her entrepreneurial activities, Christine founded Fintech Ladies, a network for women involved in digitisation and innovation in finance. Christine was a member of the Fintech Council of the Federal Ministry of Finance and previously worked at Goldman Sachs in London. In January 2022, Christine joined the Angel Invest fund as a partner.  

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Keywords: banks, fintech, digital banking, investment, startup, digitalisation, digital assets, financial services, risk management, compliance
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Companies: RIDE Capital
Countries: World
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Banking & Fintech

RIDE Capital

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