Year in data 2015: Transaction services

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Relationships count in cash management.

The discussion of competitive advantage in cash management often revolves around technology, systems and data analysis. But winning and retaining cash business from clients is, like in any other area of finance, about relationships. People matter. And with the rise of the relationship manager in transaction services, they are becoming more important than ever.

As part of Euromoney’s annual Cash Management Survey, published in October, we asked clients with sales of over $10 billion to rate the importance of aspects of their relationships with banks. The most important factors are quality of execution, quality of personnel, a demonstrable level of commitment to a client’s cash management business, and industry knowledge and expertise. Banks should, it seems, invest more in those areas rather than cash flow forecasting capabilities.

How did the  top five overall banks in the survey rate for the quality of their people (see bottom chart)? It is worth noting that Citi, overall runner-up in the corporate section of the survey, ranks below its closest competitors in a number of these categories. Deutsche Bank, winner of the overall rankings in the financial institutions section, also lags in qualitative people metrics. HSBC, winner of the corporate survey, rates well, outperforming Citi, Deutsche and BNP Paribas.

But the stand-out performer for quality of people in cash management is Bank of America Merrill Lynch. It only ranked fifth in the overall corporate ranking, but when it comes to its bankers, its clients rate them higher than its closest competitors across the board.

BAML retained its title as best transaction services house in Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence, largely on the back of the number of important mandates the bank had won. As we said at the start, people win business.

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