Challenger bank Monument paves way for launch with £28m funding

February 24, 2021

A challenger bank that wants to target Britain's wealthy savers has raised close to £30m as it finalises plans to launch later this year.

Sky News understands that Monument, named after the famous commemoration to the Great Fire of London in the City, will announce this week that it has built a syndicate of individual investors to exceed a £20m fundraising target.

The £28m Series A round includes investment from Eric Zinterhofer, a founding partner of private equity firm Searchlight Capital, Rakesh Loonkar, a cybersecurity entrepreneur, and Harry Handelsman, who oversaw the restoration of London's St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

Monument, which declined to comment on the valuation at which it had raised the new funding, is in the mobilisation phase of the licensing process with UK banking watchdogs.

The company intends to capture a £200bn slice of Britain's affluent savings market, and is among a deluge of new entrants to the banking market to emerge since the 2008 financial crisis.

Chaired by Niall Booker, a former chief executive of the Co-operative Bank, Monument believes it can build a sizeable customer base among the four million people it says fall between the borders of mainstream retail banking and private banking for the super-rich.

That will entail targeting what it describes as "a client community that has been largely underserved by the established 'premier' and private banks, and unaddressed by other challenger banks: busy professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs and investors".

Monument has estimated that this slice of the UK banking market has wealth worth a combined £3.5trn, including at least £200bn in liquid savings.

It will offer clients access to loans of up to £2m when it launches later this year.

Digital adoption of banking services has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a fresh wave of licence applications and fundraisings by would-be challenger banks.

Well-established digital banks including Atom Bank, Monzo and Starling Bank are all raising substantial sums of new capital.

Monument has already raised approximately £20m of funding from investors, and is run by its co-founder, Mintoo Bhandari, a former executive at the investment firm Apollo Global Management.

Mr Bhandari said: "We are very pleased and excited to have successfully completed our Series A funding round, exceeding targets, against such a challenging backdrop.

"As the global and national focus turns towards economic recovery, we are confident that digital-first firms, including Monument, can play an exceptional role in supporting the 'building back better' of our economy."

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