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Banking And Wealth Management Ethical Unethical Practices

Miniscule knowledge or understanding of one's business and its operations impacts the business in the long run. However, a vast majority of companies are still thriving in their businesses with cursory knowhow of the business and are complacent with the meagre profits they generate. As a result of this, they are never able to deliver or perform to their fullest potential. This loss of performance can be accounted to several factors like improper understanding of their target segment, employing wrong or compromised modes or channels for delivery of goods and services, or hiring an unskilled workforce that lacks relevant training.

Wealth management or private banking is one such industry, that is one of the most misunderstood businesses in India. And the irony is that itís not just misunderstood by its practitioners but equally misunderstood by the patrons.

Both the parties have a huge disconnect between what is to be delivered by the practitioners vs how it's in turn perceived or received by the patrons. It is misdeemed and compromised on many operational facets like catering to the wrong target market, quality and calibre of people, Inappropriate training and a half baked sales process. A plethora of these so-called wealth management companies had probably jumped the bandwagon mimicking their competition and do not know what is it that they are exactly into and have a very little idea about their business proposition as some think they are stock advisors some call themselves bankers and some think it's a piece of cake to multiply clients wealth.†
For years they have been putting wrong people to manage clients wealth.

To my mind, very few managers are capable of actually advising clients on wealth creation. For the fact remains, that none of them has the right qualification or more so relevant experience to advise clients. As a wealth manager, your job is to build up a strong relationship and ensure clients assets are appropriately allocated in the right asset classes based on his life stage needs. The first meeting with the client, the manager sells himself as an aficionado of sorts and ensures that the client comes to believe that nothing can go wrong as for as his money is concerned. Client buys into his bullish outlook and decides to give this chap a chance.

This is the biggest mistake WMís make while misportraying themselves as a magician of some sort when the fact remains no wealth manager can make such tall claims showing just the rosy picture to their client. They are rather supposed to educate the client on how investments function, the time horizon, and the profit and loss elements of investing. If a WM backs a particular fund or scheme, it doesnít necessarily mean it will deliver the said forecasted returns. But for the fear of losing a sale, most managers end up blowing their trumpet and end up making false commitments.

Honestly, it is the fault of firms and leaders who allow and encourage such pitch. Lack of right soft skills and a pitching process are two major gaps in this industry which make the business suffer. So you have hired someone who is going to deal with a 200-300 crore wealthy guy and what exactly is he going to go talk to this client? Even veterans with 20-35 years of domain experience go shaking in front of clients when it comes to delivering the first pitch.

They are not trained and therefore have a pitch and process that goes missing. The fact that most wealth managers lack in-depth knowledge of competitions products (as the product universe is so vast and they barely know their products too well), clients usually tend to test a WM'S knowledge basis his awareness of technicals and products performance across the industry and in the absence of right objection handling skills to discreetly address such queries/objections, wealth managers mostly start bullshitting and resort to undermining competition. At times some seasoned and market savvy clients outsmart managers as for as knowledge is concerned so it's foolhardy to debate with clients in such areas where he or she lacks.

As a WM, you only need to do a cursory study of clients portfolio and forward to the technical team for analysis and yet again apprise him of what you told him in the first meeting that all you will do is manage his allocation. He or she needs to rather focus on understanding clients investment objectives and goals and not nail him down on his portfolio performance and pitch his products without proper analysis.

To make you understand this better here's an analogy, suppose a car salesman goes on talking more in detail about the spare parts used in making the vehicle rather than focussing on selling the car based on its key features and the client, in turn, goes about shooting him/her with more and more questions on the spare parts. The salesperson being technically challenged in this domain or space can only answer the basic questions post that he would go bonkers and start bullshitting. So you are only good to sell him the car based on key features and this requires special skills and objection handling ability to expand a conversation with the client for you to align the key features with client requirements and convert into a sale.

When you are meeting some big promoter or an HNI client, he is all the more inquisitive, what you do and what you can do for him as he has already met many like you, who have failed to satisfy his investment needs or failed on commitments.

These firms need a good training module and a standard content to be passed on to all client-facing employees to help them set forth their expectations. They need people who can relate and connect well with someone bigger in stature. So yes confidence is what you need in tonnes to go out and talk to such clients. Which I am sure they do have but somehow it's not being exercised rightly in their presentation.†

Forget about a meaningful face to face interaction with the clients, being from the industry, I have observed many managers murmur and fumble over the phone with prospects when seeking the first meeting with him or her. Honestly, its three things in a nutshell that lead to this failure. Wrong self-portrayal (Lack of a good pitch), Wrong attitude and low confidence levels (Not being able to project yourself as a concrete value provider) and thirdly you need to follow a process (You canít nail a deal in one or two meetings). So itís a stepwise process that one needs to follow which majority of firms do not follow. As a result, this hit ratio is very low.

Again, this is a training need overlooked by the firms. Sectors like insurance, FMCG, consumer durables, for that matter are better equipped as for training needs are concerned. Remember that eureka Forbes sales guy....his pitch and style. Do you think he can ever miss the line† I am sold? Given the proficiency, they have on the product and add to that the skills they have acquired in handling objections they would rarely miss a sale. Wealth managers barely match such excellence because most of them pitching in the space they are not trained into and more so they lack in the consultative style of handling objections.

?Your conversation with the client needs to evolve out his objections and not be inclined to avoiding his objections with the frequently used cliched line I will come back to you. Unfortunately, this is the only Joker or Brahmastra a manager has while trying to handle an objection when he is all blank.

And the root cause why clients shoot technical queries is the wrong perception created by the WM's that they know it all. Well, you are not supposed to answer and know everything so better educate your clients what you are there for and tell him you selling him the process of advisory.

Wealth management is an investment advisory service that combines other financial services to address the needs of affluent clients. It is a consultative process whereby the advisor gleans information about the client's wants and tailors a bespoke strategy utilising appropriate financial products and services.

By trying to answer every technical query and parking it to never come back to it you are steering the discussion in the wrong direction because you never took the right direction in the beginning. Most wealth managers lack the diagnostic approach to identifying the problem.

They need to approach the client more akin to health practitioners, who tend to diagnose the disease based on symptoms and accordingly prescribe the treatment. Hope the industry awakens soon and one could see a good transition and we could match up with wealth management and private banking professionals in the western world.

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