Never mind the quality, feel the width
Like bespoke tailors, private bankers have to offer clients just that little bit extra.
It is difficult to sound surprised when private bankers share with you their latest insight into client demands. Apparently, what high net-worth clients want more than anything else is... good service. The fact that private bankers regard this as revolutionary is much more of a surprise, and raises some concerns.
Private bankers claim that this new demand for service is a result of greater client satisfaction with performance and, therefore, less of an ever-present concern with it on their part. This has taken some of the pressure off those banks that have spent most of the past few years explaining to clients why they have lost money. Interestingly though, the banks concede that performance demands have dissipated largely because of an upturn in equities and rising interest rates (and therefore cash returns), rather than as a result of in-house fund selection or management skills.
The fact that private banks are jumping on this new ‘service-focused’ bandwagon as if it had never existed before is worrying. As the results of Euromoney’s private banking survey published in this issue show, it is encouraging private banks to take on more staff, decrease the number of clients per relationship manager, and provide low-fee, high-quality services to stave off competition.