December 17 2011
Business | Your Money, Gulfnews
What to expect from your bank's relationship manager.
By Frederic de Melker, Special To Gulf News Published: 00:00 December 17, 2011
As you attempt to create a strategic financial plan to build and protect your wealth, you are often confronted with an almost endless list of elements. Most banks provide their mass affluent customers with a relationship manager (RM), who can support them in the quest for solutions that fit these sophisticated needs. As a customer, what can you expect from your RM, and what makes him more than a salesman?
Regular, relevant and timely communication
Technology has opened many doors and today, information is rolling in every single second. This doesn't necessarily make our life easier, as one is forced to put the right filters to manage the overdose of data.
A competent relationship manager helps you to gather, sort out and interpret information. He facilitates you by separating the facts and figures from market gossip and hearsay. He is not on his own because a team of sales-independent market analysts support him in his task.
Receiving adequate information has nothing to do with being a good communicator. A person with a story that sounds like music to your ears but without any interest for your needs, is simply a good salesman. A relationship manager, on the other hand, is somebody who listens first and does not create your needs on the spot.
Partnership in an open relationship
If you want to get the best out of your relationship manager, it is important to interact. Interaction is a two-way communication, which helps you and your RM to learn and teach each other who you are and what you stand for.
Developing a relationship is based on commitment from both sides. The more you speak about your needs, the more your RM will understand you and bring you the right information to take correct decisions.
Interaction leads to promises and expectations. You recognise a good relationship manager in the way he communicates with you.
Somebody who positions himself as the best banker with the best products in the best financial institution in the world is not a relationship manager, but again a sales person. He doesn't build trust but simply tries to gain trust.
An RM who cares about a relationship gives you the pros and cons of every option that can fit your needs.
Receive guidance and advice but think for yourself
It is indeed about options, not products. The ultimate product that fits all your needs simply does not exist.
The art of advice is combining products and services to enforce the positive aspects and attempt to neutralise their negative elements.
Your relationship manager shows you the different combinations and facilitates you to make a fair judgment on what suits you best.
A salesman, on the other hand, is not going to wait for your decision. He will not give you time to think. He has already decided for you long before the conversation even started.
Remember, the decision should be yours. A good idea would be to take notes during each meeting as these will help you make more informed decisions.
Changing relationship managers
It is often difficult to accept a new person, who replaces your previous relationship manager. Keep in mind, however, that he represents the organisation you decided to bank with.
This means he is representing a team of hundreds of bank officials from product developers to fund managers to market specialists, who work together to serve your needs.
Nevertheless, it is important to keep record of the discussions and the needs you have already defined with your previous RM. Only then, can you pick up fast with your new representative.
Frederic de Melker