Discipline and methodology in private banking

In an economic environment under pressure, and in an unstable geopolitical context, private banking must take up a certain number of challenges, firstly for its clients and secondly for itself.

For a private bank, the operational model in place is the undeniable support of a correctly delivered value to the client. However, it is not just about IT, products and services. The method used to interact with the prospect or customer is just as fundamental, if not more so. It determines the correct use of the business model, and ensures that the value the customer is seeking is delivered correctly. It is not based on anything material. It is a self-discipline to which every private banker must constantly adhere.

In turbulent time, it is important to remember that Client-centricity is not a concept. It protects the organisation in the long term.

It must be holistic in nature. It must create a context in which the client’s needs are properly addressed, i.e. understood, then analysed, followed and solved. Discipline requires a methodology.

This is defined as a set of reasoned steps taken to achieve a goal.

The first step is to properly understand the client and identify his needs. This step is an examination. This stage consists of a careful and meticulous analysis of the client’s situation in all its dimensions. It is not only a question of identifying pockets of incomes and debts, but also of understanding their origin, structure and purpose, and placing them in the client’s non-financial environment (family situation, professional situation, life project). The client’s current and future living environment is the central piece of architecture. Not to understand it is to doom any proposal to failure.

At Banque Havilland, our bankers devote a great deal of time to this phase. It is great to see how well they are able to convey to the account opening committee the details of their meetings with their clients, to identify their values and needs, and to put this in perspective with the future of the relationship.

It is also pleasing to note the quality of the discussions they have had with their clients, and particularly the way in which they have identified the obstacles that will have to be overcome so that the value delivered is not impacted. These obstacles often relate to data from the client’s environment, which the client has not always correctly anticipated.

We see how important it is also for them to integrate our business model, and services offering into the action plan they have defined with the client. At this second stage which sometimes is parallel to the first one, our bankers have brought together the necessary expertise from departments such as asset management, financial engineering, credit and the trading room, and have coordinated this with the more operational back-office teams. They have also taken care to check that the whole strategy is in line with the regulatory and legal requirements applicable to their activity.

These two first steps allow them to ensure the client a sound and efficient execution of the solutions. This is the penultimate step in the process.

Because they have focus on the client’s meaningful goals from the outset, anticipate the obstacles, share a vision with the client and execute the strategy accordingly they have built a strong bond of trust with their client, resulting in a fair and fruitful relationship for both parties.

Finally, because trust has been created, because material processes allow for easy execution of the given word, it is easier to envisage the future despite the economic turbulence.

The application of a strict methodology by our bankers allows for the monitoring of the plan over time and the respect of the objectives pursued by the client. A monitoring allows adjustments to the plan, because the fundamental value that inspires it from the outset is the correct identification of needs and their evolution over time.

The “raison d’être” of a private bank is to provide specific services to specific clients. The service provided must always be superior to that reserved for customers of a traditional network bank. The needs are more complex and deserve a different and personalized service.

Personalization requires deep and intimate knowledge to be properly assessed and treated. Because financial and life course issues are important, it is more than necessary to be methodical. The human relationship at the heart of the concept of private banking cannot be replaced by a tool. Discipline and method are the fundamental qualities that a private banker must have in order to use his services effectively and enable his client to achieve the desired objective.

Olivier Beghin
Head of Private Banking at Banque Havilland

(source: Luxembourg Times)