Goldman Sachs has made its UK retail banking debut with a market-leading savings account launched through its Marcus digital banking brand.
The Wall Street titan rolled out accounts to UK customers nationwide on Thursday after trialling the platform with local staff earlier this month.
The Marcus brand – named after one of the bank’s founders Marcus Goldman – offers a high yield rate of 1.5%, trumping the national average (0.6%) for easy access savings.
Unlike a current account, the savings account does not cater to direct debits but will allow for quick access to cash if needed.
Its minimum saving level currently sit at £1 with a maximum of £250,000.
The 1.5% interest rate is a boon for UK savers, who have suffered for years amid record-low interest rates.
Des McDaid, Marcus’ managing director, said: “Over the last decade savers have been on the wrong end of low interest rates.
“We’ve spoken in-depth to people across the country and there is a real disillusionment about savings – while most UK adults are diligently trying to save every month, some do not even have a savings account, with low interest rates and complexity being put to blame.
“We want to reverse the trend – literally putting the interest back into savings and make saving worthwhile again.”
Shakila Hashmi, head of money, at Compare the Market, said: “The rate offered on its first UK savings account is around three times more generous than the average savings accounts from the major players.
“Our hope is that this is a catalyst for other banks to offer better rates to their customers. The effect it will have on competition is not simply that of another new player coming into the market and offering an attractive rate; Goldman Sachs is a well-known name, albeit an unlikely one in the retail banking space.
“Its arrival in this market is highly visible and, essentially, throws down the gauntlet to the rest of the industry.”
McDaid joined Marcus with experience as a director at UK challenger bank TSB.
The Marcus launch is the brand’s first expansion outside the US and puts it among only a small number of digital only consumer-facing banks in the UK, including Starling Bank and Monzo, with no plans to run bricks-and-mortar branches.
Goldman originally launched Marcus in the US in 2016, offering personal loans and savings accounts online.
The US banking giant’s move into retail banking has been seen as a way to diversify after a difficult stretch for investment banking desks across the industry.
This summer the Wall Street giant hired 150 extra staff in London ahead for the UK-wide roll-out of Marcus.
It included 100 management, IT and product development workers as well as 50 people for its customer service call centre.
Further hiring is expected as the digital bank grows.
Staff working for the Marcus by Goldman Sachs brand will be based at Goldman’s current central London offices, but will follow the rest of the bank’s team when they move to their new nine-storey site off Farringdon Street next year.