FlowBank was founded in the summer of 2020, the service could be used for the first time in November 2020. The startup has an official Swiss full banking license. It focuses entirely on online banking in combination with a broker portfolio. As with other digital banking startups, low fees beckon.
Online trading with FlowBank Pro
Smartphone apps, purely digital banking including banking services together with a debit card – none of these are innovations in the startup banking space. Such neobanks also offer trading in assets such as stocks and cryptocurrencies. However, FlowBank sets a different course here and focuses on the online trading platform from the outset. Per FlowBank Pro App, the company offers a professional trading interface for multi-asset trading with currently 50,000 financial products, including:
- Foreign exchange
- Precious metals
In addition, there are other tools such as an option board that displays the current option prices, volumes and maturities. Multi-account trading (MAT) allows orders to be placed from multiple accounts. This can also be used to manage client accounts or run different strategies simultaneously. Basket Trader is intended to speed up trading by making multiple assets in the portfolio accessible with one click. At the same time, the aim is to make trading smartphone-compliant using drag & drop.
Who is behind FlowBank?
The founder is Charles-Henri Sabet, a Swiss national with Egyptian-Lebanese roots. He is a former tennis player and backgammon world champion. in 1991 he founded his own financial company, Forex Trader TCC (Trading + Commercial Consulting). He obtained a Swiss banking license in 1999, and over time he became increasingly interested in online trading. in 2007 he sold his company (now called “Synthesis Bank”), and two years later he became the chairman of GIO (Global Investment Opportunities Management Ltd). FlowBank was founded in 2020 and is based in Geneva. The team now has over 100 employees. in 2021, another branch office was added in Zurich.
We operate 100 percent out of Switzerland. With FlowBank, you don’t just end up in a call center abroad – like with most competitors.”Charles Henri Sabet, CEO of FlowBank, in Finews.
Security, deposits and full banking license
FlowBank is subject to FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) and thus its requirements. Furthermore, the company is a member of Esisuisse, the “Deposit Guarantee of Swiss Banks and Securities Dealers”. This means that accounts with deposits of up to CHF 100,000 are secured. When registering, users have to identify themselves correctly and upload some documents. In this way, the bank protects itself against criminals and ensures that new customers will not want to use it for their machinations. It is a standard procedure. One does not find any other information about security measures. At the same time, there are also no reports that the accounts or website have been hacked.
Profile FlowBank SA
Fintech bank and broker
Full banking license of Switzerland
Number of employees
Fee structure of banking and trading
Online banks often promise low fees compared to traditional house banks. With a custody fee of 0.10% and a minimum of CHF 40, FlowBank is also cheaper than established competitors on the Swiss market. The maximum custody fee is CHF 200. Broker fees are also quite low. There is only a commission of CHF 6.50 on shares or ETFs on the Swiss stock exchange SIX, and the federal stamp tax and additional stock exchange fees are already included.
Some key figures
Annual custody fee
0.10%, min. CHF 40.00
SIX share purchase worth CHF 1000
SIX share purchase to the value of CHF 10000
CHF 10 + stamp duty
0.15% possibly with minimum
3 US dollars
Trading Interface for App
FlowBank offers a trading interface that should immediately seem familiar to experienced and professional traders. Even though the company says it is also aimed at beginners, it is rather difficult for inexperienced traders to get started. There is a trading interface available for the FlowBank app as well as for the desktop. In terms of trading instruments, you will find the usual market, limit and stop-loss orders. In addition, there are a number of customizable charts, price alerts, reporting tools and other features.
Fractional shares allow you to purchase shares in a stock. This is not possible with many other Swiss banks. If a particular share is too expensive, you can use it to get at least a third or half. The returns then also correspond to the share.
Crypto trading at FlowBank
Direct trading in cryptocurrencies is currently not possible, but is to follow in the future. Here, platforms such as Sygnum or Nuri (formerly Bitwala) are already a step ahead. So far, customers can only participate in the performance of the coins and tokens via crypto ETFs, ETPs, ETNs and crypto certificates. For example, there are ETNs from VanEck, crypto certificates from SEBA Bank or the ETPs from CoinShares and HANetf to choose from. You do not become the real owner of the cryptocurrencies. There is also no wallet or similar services as one would expect from an exchange. However, for someone who only wants to profit from the performance, it is definitely an alternative.
Trading platform or neobank?
So who is FlowBank suitable for? First of all, it offers a similar proposition to other startup neobanks: low fees, apart from that all the basic services you would expect from a checking account. Just purely digital, without local branches. The company generates revenue primarily through high volumes and many customers.
If you listen to the plans of founder Charles-Henri Sabet, the future expansion of the offering is focused primarily on trading. Actually, it is a trading platform with an attached banking service. When it comes to cryptocurrencies, FlowBank still has a lot of catching up to do. True, there are some customers who prefer to invest in securities on cryptocurrencies. Others, however, would like to see the direct purchase of Bitcoin and Co. including custody service.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What is a neobank?For the most part, this term describes fairly young digital banks with technical innovations. Often, this involves interfaces to third-party providers, such as external markets for trading. Or one offers cryptocurrencies together with a wallet service. They deliberately distinguish themselves from traditional banks and do not have physical bank branches.
So far, cryptocurrencies can only be traded in the form of securities such as ETFs or certificates. Financial instruments that track the performance of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Polkadot, Ripple and several others are available. It is possible that the offer will be expanded in the future.
The FlowBank Pro app for smartphones is currently only available for Apple devices. Furthermore, there is the desktop application for common PCs. The Pro version offers enhanced trading features and advanced instruments.
Opening an account is made very easy. First, you register on FlowBank’s website with your name, phone number and email address. Then verification takes place via live video and identification documents. The account can then be used.