Virtual bank branches, donut acquisitions, and surprising study results

Millennial investors: The generation known as baby boomers currently holds 50% of Wall Street assets with an average individual savings of around $600,000 across retirement funds, pensions and other assets. Per The Economist, baby boomers are expected to hand down roughly $22 trillion to their children, millennials who currently only have an average of $35,000 in individual financial assets, by the year 2042. Big financial firms are starting to shift approaches to target young professionals in anticipation of these generations coming into their peak earning ages and their continued adoption of new technologies and investment philosophies.

Virtual bank branches: The U.S. is starting to explore a trend that has already been embraced in other countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, spurred as a result of limited consumer access to bank branches and increased online bank traffic due to the pandemic. These platforms are similar to an online bank, but encompass additional communication tools and functions meant to simulate interactions a patron would experience at a regular bank branch, reports American Banker. While many banks already offer options for consumers to open accounts or deposit checks via their app, these virtual branches would allow an even more cohesive experience with customer support functions, file sharing and electronic signatures.

Donuts and coffee: The New York Times has disclosed that Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins, is in talks to sell itself to private equity-backed Inspire Brands. Inspire Brands is the parent company to multiple food chains like Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic, and its most recent acquisition in 2019, Jimmy John’s.

Dunkin’, which brings in more than half its revenue from drink orders, dropped “Donut” from its name last year in order to compete more directly with Starbucks in the specialty coffee market. The $8.8 billion deal could be finalized as early as later this week.

Financial literacy gap: A study published in June by the Swiss banking group UBS has found that millennial women exhibited less financial independence than the women it surveyed in the baby boomer generation.  Despite being a generation defined by their push for open-mindedness and equality surrounding general roles, millennial women were more likely to defer to their male partners for long-term financial planning than share in the responsibility or take the lead themselves.

The study surveyed 1,320 women who possessed at least $250,000 in investable assets, and among the millennial women living with male partners, 54 percent said they deferred to their partners for financial planning compared to only 39 percent of the boomer women. According to The New York Times, “even the most educated and high-achieving millennial women were not as involved as their husbands in long-term financial decision making.”

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