In 2018, the wealth account aggregation platform Canopy decided to set up business in the Greater Zurich Area. Sinan Biren, Business Development Manager at Canopy explains why the location in Greater Zurich has been decisive for the company's strategic expansion.
Interestingly, the move was prompted by Canopy’s ability to handle a format that competitors cannot: The PDF. Canopy is the only company in the world that accepts private bank PDF statements as a bona fide data source. "Private banks can usually only manage PDF statements while we are able to handle data in any format. Therefore Canopy has a monopolistic lock on the PDF-only part of data aggregation", explained Biren. He estimates PDF-only data is valued at around US$10 trillion — a number certainly large enough to motivate expansion.
“We realized that the market opportunity is much bigger than we anticipated and needed to move quickly to 'lock down Europe in addition to Asia", said Biren. According to him, Switzerland was “the most logical place to kick off Canopy’s European expansion" although the WealthTech had shortlisted UK and Switzerland, but due to the number of private banks in the region and because “it has a long tradition as a leading financial hub” and of course due to its neutral grounds and stable & healthy environment the company went ahead with Switzerland.
Spearheaded by Sinan Biren, who hails from Swiss-based WealthTech company m2Wealth, Canopy’s Swiss office will act as general business development and support center but there are plans in the near future for R&D and data operations. ‘’Switzerland has an incredible talent pool thanks to its highly-reputed educational institutions and hosting some of the most desired employers in the world to work for makes the country an excellent hub for product development", said Biren.
The new office is a “logical extension from Asia” and Canopy’s Swiss expansion “does not mean any reduction in Asian focus”. Credit Suisse rolled out Canopy for its Hong Kong and Singapore clients after acquiring a 10% stake in the WealthTech firm, and shortly afterwards, the Zurich-based lender revealed that one-third of its Canopy clients had already elected to share third-party information with their relationship managers.
Canopy is being piloted with four-to-five private banks and a number of EAMs across Hong Kong and Singapore, and the platform currently handles more than US$42 billion in assets under reporting.