Review: Unicredit Xelion Banca

Xelion Banca is the investment-specialized bank of Unicredit Group (one of the biggest banking group in Italy and in Europe). Xelion’s peculiarity is a network of 1,900 “personal financial advisor”, to support clients in investments. Xelion has a multi-brand financial products offer, not limited to Unicredit Group ones, and allows to invest in a wide variety of securities: bond, mutual funds, SICAV, warrants, covered warrants, pension funds. As a consequence of this approach, Xelion is quite different from bank and saving account of which we already talked (such as ING Direct Conto Arancio, Santander Consumer Bank saving account, IWBank, Fineco, Webank). The main peculiarity is that there are different account profiles (even with different interest rates) depending on if you open the account through a financial advisor or by yourself (“direct” account): in the first case the interest rate is higher – quite opposite to the online banks strategy, but Xelion seem to be more interested in underlining the central role of its financial adviser in customer relationship.

Another Xelion pecuialrity is the interest rate based on Euribor rate (the Eurozone interbank rate, by now at 4.170%). The interest rate is caluclated as 1-month Euribor-365 – 0.50% for accounts opened through a financial advisor, and 1-month Euribor-365 – 0.75% for “direct” accounts, in both cases with quarterly capitalization.

Xelion offers two account types: Saving and Banking. As you may guess, the first one is a saving account (there are no management fees, but you can’t perform banking operations), and the second one a banking account, (it allows a fully banking operativity: bank transfers, bill and tax paying, but there is a 4-Euro monthly management fee — 48 euro/year). In both cases the tax on bank accounts (32.50 euro) is to be paied by the customer, as is the €1.25 lump-sum for sending abstract of account.

The Direct Saving and Direct Banking accounts provide a “door policy”: in other words, the bank shall evaluate the client before accepting to open an account (anyway, this is a quite common action, but usually it isn’t highlighted), and there is a minimum deposit of €10,000 (considering both liquidiy and securities). This limit isn’t present if you open the account through a financial advisor, that supply references for the customer.

In my opinion, there are several interesting aspects int Xelion Banca offer:

  • Interest rate explicitly linked to Euribor rate;
  • High interest rate, compared to the average: by now 3.67% (3.42% for direct accounts);
  • Possibility to gain access to a wide variety of investments;
  • Different profiles (saving an banking) can be chosen according to one’s own needs.

But there are a few points that you should consider:

  • Website isn’t so clear: in my opinion it’s quite difficult to understand the bank proposal and why one should turn to Xelion;
  • Bank philosophy is clearly centered around financial advisers, so if you don’t want to be supported by one, it make little sense to choose Xelion;
  • The minimum deposit limit implies that this isn’t a bank that you can use to diversify your accounts, but propose itself as your main bank, or at least as your main investment bank.
  • Typical Xelion customer — I guess — is not only interested in leaving money on the bank account, but may want to invest in securities. Therefore, is important to verify commisions, fees and charges on financial products, comparing them with other banks.

Italian translation of this post: Unicredit Xelion Banca

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