Plenty has already been said about private bankers. My goal here, however, is to do it in a more concise, clear and less-technical way that is easily digested by the general public.
A private banker is a financial manager who boasts in-depth knowledge of their clients, their assets, their investment goals, their profitability expectations, their risk profile, their liquidity needs, their tax situation and even their personal doubts and uncertainties, among many other things. As such, they leverage this information to provide their clients with investment recommendations to help increase their net worth in the medium and long term, in line with their objectives. In other words, they draw up a personalised plan to comprehensively manage their clients’ assets.
Private banking as a sector and a profession is often dehumanised and highly competitive; however, just like many other professions, good professionals rise above the rest thanks to their commitment and high personal standards. Experience shows us that clients who receive such a personalised, committed and trustworthy service tend to be delighted with their relationship with their private banker.
A private banker must have a certain skill set in order to offer asset management services that are truly tailored to each client, such as technical knowledge of the markets and being well-versed in all aspects of the financial world – which must be kept up to date at all times – in addition to a profound understanding of modern macro- and microeconomics and current financial regulations, the ability to create a long-term view, and a whole host more of hard or technical skills. For me, however, most important are the so-called soft skills, those that cover social abilities such as active listening, showing empathy to clients, and using these skills to foster harmonious, enduring and sincere professional relationships. It is impossible to develop such skills without a healthy dose of perseverance and an unwavering commitment to your job.
What clients most value are the personal relationships that go above and beyond the tailored service offered to them. A great indicator of our added value is what our clients have to say about us: “The most important thing is that you’re always there for me”. Behind this brief summary of our role is a lot of hard work that we put in: we have to be constantly available, approachable, repetitive, knowledgeable, and provide comprehensive assistance and advice, all of which helps us provide agile and quality solutions.
Through personalisation and the qualities mentioned above we can develop an in-depth knowledge of our clients, allowing us to understand them better, anticipate their needs and define a future strategy with honesty and transparency at the core.
With the financial markets ticking up, a context in which assets under management continue to grow, it’s clear to see that all the hard work private bankers put in is to make it easier and more comfortable for the client. The real challenge, however, is when assets under management don’t evolve as planned, something Warren Buffet famously summed up saying, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” It is in these moments when private bankers really prove their worth by gaining more information, analysing the situation, communicating transparently and keeping in constant contact with the client. In short, they need to know how to steer the ship through uncertain waters.
The private banking sector, just like many others, is facing new global challenges such as the energy transition and sustainability, issues which impact the profession by demanding new criteria regarding sustainable investment, something that newer generations of investors are increasingly looking for.
It also has to overcome certain sector-specific obstacles like the emergence of artificial intelligence, continuous regulatory changes, the appearance of new financial assets, cryptocurrencies and increased pressure to find greater profitability.
In my opinion, and despite all these new challenges, private bankers clearly emerge as a vital figure that satisfies all these needs. Given the highly complex nature of the current world and the future, we need someone to decipher all of these intricacies and act as a buffer to help clients feel more at ease. The challenges facing private bankers are enormous, but the potential benefits they can bring are unimaginable.
Pulished in Cinco Días 05.08.2023