Comparing private banking accounts in South Africa

South Africa is not short of private wealth accounts. Whether you want a private banker or get better interest rates for your home in Midstream Estate – there are options for you. But you do need certain criteria met when applying (or switching). The exclusive benefits, eligibility criteria, and unique services offered by various institutions could be daunting. And this article can help you uncover a bit more.

Private banking goes beyond the ordinary, offering personalized financial management, dedicated advisors, and access to specialized investment opportunities. The expected, exclusive offering goes without saying – such as access to slow lounges at airports, prime-linked credit cards and rewards programmes that aren’t giving you a cent to the million Rand.

It is challenging to quantify the value of exclusive deals, however, for this article, I will look at an array of fees and mention some of the main exclusive offerings that private banking offers at the selected banks.

Banks offer private banking for under-30s wealth proteges and established professionals.

Under 30 Private banker accounts

A few banks offer exclusive banking options for young professionals. The purpose is to be fast-tracked to private banking, where your private banker will be on call. These bankers understand the needs of young professionals in fields like IT, engineering, or medicine.

Bank/AccountMinimum RequirementMonthly FeeCash DepositsForex Fees (buying forex)Cross border fees
Investec Private Banking (Under 30)R600,000 annual income (specific fields)R305.001.34%-1.47%2%2%
Nedbank Young Private Banking 4 year degreeR265.00R2,35 plus R0.57 per R100Not specifiedNot specified
FNB Premier for Young ProfessionalsSalary fo R5 500 per month (specific fields)R230R1.40 per R100, first R4 000 free per month Not specifiedNot specified

Investec Private Banking for under 30s

As an Investec customer, you can expect benefits to include full access to Investec’s suite of offerings, offshore banking in the UK, uncapped Rewards points, exclusive deals through Investec Travel, unlimited airport lounge access, and a prime-linked credit card with competitive rates and personalized benefits.

Nedbank Young private clients

Nedbank’s Young Private Clients account offers the same perks as their Nedbank Private Wealth account. all perks are discounted by 50%. You will earn interest on a One account, or choose the Bundle with an optional overdraft facility or credit card. However, you need to be under 30 with a 4-year degree.

FNB Young Professionals

Premier for Young Professionals is open to individuals in the engineering, chartered accountancy, architecture, law and medicine and actuarial science fields. A team of professional bankers will be available to you by phone and you will get assistance with investments, credit applications and setting up insurance to protect your valuables.

As a bonus, you also get a once-off telephonic session with a financial advisor, and access to foreign currency when travelling abroad. It’s noteworthy that fees are charged for local and international slow lounges and other services that come as standard with many other providers.

Private Wealth Accounts For the Established Professionals (Over 30)

Private wealth and private banking accounts are similar to the under-30s accounts in value – it’s really only in price that it differs.

Bank/AccountMinimum RequirementMonthly FeeCash DepositsForex Fees (buying forex)Cross border fees
Investec Private Banking (Under 30)R600,000 annual income (specific fields)R305.001.34%-1.47%2%2%
Investec Private Banking (Over 30)R800,000 annual income (R67,000 per month approx.)R340.001.34%-1.47%2%2%
Absa Private BankingR750,000 annual incomeR475R2.50 per R100 Not specifiedR4.00
Standard Bank Private BankingR1.1 million annual incomeR420.00R1.40 per R100 or part thereofNot specified2.75% of value
Nedbank Private WealthR1.5 million annual income OR R5 million investable assetsR530.00R4,70 plus R1,13 per R100Not specifiedNot specified
FNB Private WealthR1.5 million annual income OR R15 million net asset valueR555FreeNot specified2% of transaction value 
Discovery Purple AccountR2.5 million annual incomeR644R19.95 per R5,0003%2% of the purchase amount, capped at R100 per transaction

Investec Private Wealth Account

Catering to individuals above 30, Investec Private Wealth requires an annual income of R800,000 or more. This elite banking experience offers a competitive debit rate, access to funds at up to prime rate, up to 45 interest-free days on purchases with the Visa Platinum Credit Card, unlimited ATM withdrawals locally and internationally, interest on credit balances, and a budget facility for managing unexpected expenses.

Absa Private Banking

If you’ve built a solid financial foundation, Absa Private Banking might be right for you with a minimum requirement of R750,000 annually. Their personalized wealth management strategies are crafted around your evolving financial needs, whether it’s maximizing retirement savings or planning for education.

Standard Bank Private Banking

Targeting high earners with a minimum annual salary of R1.1 million, Standard Bank offers a comprehensive approach with customized investment plans, global investment opportunities, and a network to diversify portfolios.

Nedbank Private Wealth

Nedbank has a high entry level, requiring a minimum annual income of R1.5 million or investable assets exceeding R5 million. Nedbank offers holistic wealth management, tax planning, estate planning, and philanthropic giving services.

FNB Private Wealth

Catering to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, FNB requires a minimum annual income of R1.5 million or a net asset value of R15 million. They offer access to exclusive investments, international banking solutions, and wealth succession planning.

The Discovery Purple Account

Looking for premium benefits beyond private banking? The Discovery Purple Account caters to high earners with a minimum annual income of R2.5 million. It offers travel rewards, innovative payment options, integration with Vitality Money features, and zero monthly fees!

As with everything Discovery offers, consolidating your insurance, medical aid and investments with Discovery will make the whole package very valuable.

Conclusion

The private banking sphere offers very similar services. It’s a homogenous market where banks attempt to compete on image, rather than value.

On a personal note, I would like to mention a study by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko in the book The Millionaire Next Door. The authors found that many individuals with a net worth of more than $ 1 million in investible assets live in below-middle-class areas – the equivalent of the Moot area in Pretoria. They were business owners who worked in industries such as plumbing, electricity and building industries. Private banking and your exclusive black bank card do not indicate your wealth.

However, the value of having a private banker cannot be denied. Being able to pick up the phone and have someone negotiate your home loan interest rate on your behalf is invaluable.

Sources consulted 

  1. https://www.investec.com/content/dam/south-africa/myself/private-banking/fee-structure/Fee_Structure_for_Platinum_Individual_Accounts.pdf
  2. https://www.investec.com/content/dam/south-africa/myself/private-banking/fee-structure/Forex_Fees.pdf
  3. https://www.investec.com/content/dam/south-africa/myself/private-banking/fee-structure/Fee_Structure_for_Platinum_Young_professionals.pdf
  4. https://www.investec.com/content/dam/south-africa/myself/private-banking/fee-structure/Fee_Structure_for_Platinum_Individual_Accounts.pdf
  5. https://www.absa.co.za/content/dam/south-africa/absa/pdf/pricing-brochure/2024/2024-private-banking-pricing-brochure.pdf
  1. https://www.discovery.co.za/wcm/discoverycoza/assets/bank/fees-guides/discovery-bank-purple-fees.pdf
  2. https://www.standardbank.co.za/static_file/South%20Africa/PDF/Personal%20Pricing/2024/Private_Banking_Account_Pricing_Guide_2024.pdf