The Bank of Spain (Banco de Espana) on Street Calle de Alcala in Madrid, Spain. The flag of Spain fluttering on blue sky background. Madrid is a popular tourist destination of Europe.

It’s not very often that a new bank gets into the global Top 10 within its sector, but Andbank España has managed it within four years. Here’s how:

As Spain’s embittered banking sector dusts off the dirt and picks itself up from the recent recession, it is clear that banks which continue to offer the same services, with the same business model will be overtaken by those which are more innovative.

One private bank, which has happily gone down the path of innovation is Andbank España. And rightly so. Leading a pioneering approach has seen it rise from its initial launch into advisory and wealth management back in 2012 to one of the top 10 private banks in Spain in 2016 – all in just four short years. Understanding how specialisation, independency and technology can be mixed up  has been the key to offering an unbeatable value proposition in the private banking sector.

The biggest influence on the company’s fortunes was when Andbank España merged with the private and commercial section of Inversis Banco back in December 2014. In acquiring Inversis, Andbank added another Euro 5 billion to its portfolio. Not only that, the management at Andbank España also made successful use of Inversis Banco’s digital technology know-how in addition to establishing a team of highly experienced professionals. Its private banking business model based in independent advisory and talented professionals has been key in acquiring its goals.

Andbank España gets a new CEO

Meanwhile, last year’s major move was to appoint a new CEO – Carlos Aso. He didn’t need to read up on the background to the Inversis Banco acquisition either, having headed up the takeover for Andbank where he was the firm’s Commercial Officer (He joined the company in 2009 and was an influential member of its Steering Committee).

A family business with a trading history of over 85 years

A branch of Andbank which was originally established in 1930, Andbank España is located in Spain’s capital Madrid, and has offices all over the Spanish territory. Andbank España has a team of 250 professionals looking after more than 50,000 clients with Euro 7.7 million worth of managed assets. In December 2015, the company’s solvency ratio was 42% and its liquidity ratio 1.368 per cent.

So what is the secret of the group’s success – and that of Andbank España in particular?

“I’d say one of the main reasons is that we are one of the few banks here in the Spanish market place which wholly specialises in advisory and wealth management. Another is our large presence throughout Spain with 17 branches, 126 agents and 35 financial advisory companies. And most importantly our team of talented professionals in all the areas of the organisation who strive each day to offer the best services to our clients,” said CEO, Carlos Aso.

“As a company we can offer clients a customised service. And that’s one that comes with a host of digital advantages such as the ability to access our online platform 24 hours a day. We offer them a controlled and secure connection with which to manage their accounts whenever and wherever it suits them, regardless of whether they are using a tablet, PC or Smartphone. They can also always speak to a banker, rather than a recording, whenever they dial our call centre’.

At Andbank España we also have one of the widest product portfolios in the market place (from third party investment funds, ETFs, SICAVs to real economy investments and others). For clients who prefer something a little more personalised we can introduce them to alternative investments, asset planning, advice and even socially responsible investments.”

Staff enjoy complete independence in investment recommendations

Further reasons why Andbank España does so well, added Aso, is down to the fact that the company is completely independent (ie with no conflict of existing clients’ interests) when it comes to recommending investment opportunities to clients. There is also the added advantage that the professionals working at the bank are all extremely experienced and knowledgeable in their fields (the average banker at Andbank in Spain has worked in the industry for around 15 years).

Andbank España’s differential value proposition means that the company is able to operate with more than 5000 investment funds and 200 asset managers as well as 4000 securities in 30 countries and more than 1000 ETFs. There are also plenty of futures, options and warrants to keep on top of as well.

And the future for Andbank España? Aso believes one of the guiding principles for private banking – not just in Spain but worldwide – is an emphasis on transparency. Technology will be there in the future too, of course, but it will play a secondary role to the ability of clients to know how healthy their personal investment is, and also that of the bank they are entrusting their wealth to in the first place. Indeed, the European Economic Area (EEA) is keen to encourage transparency in the banking sector throughout Europe in order to encourage client confidence, but also to foster market discipline within the single market.

Aso insists what’s really important to him is the company’s people and the trust that the clients place in their banker and in the Bank.

“Our talented and dedicated staff are crucial to the future of the company,” he added. “That’s what our clients really appreciate.”