THE question of technology versus face-to-face communication with clients has been a hot topic for some time in the wealth and private banking industry.
The global coronavirus pandemic has made the debate even more relevant, not only in Jersey, but world-wide too. Owing to national lockdowns in many countries since spring, and ongoing social restrictions, client relationships are being tested and the truth is unfolding about the advantages and disadvantages of human interaction against technology. But how does this pan out for the future? And how do they knit together?
A part of daily life
As technology continues to evolve, the different ways to communicate are endless; telephone, email, mobile phone, Skype and social media are integral to work life today. Technology helps us navigate almost every facet of our lives including communications, social interactions, shopping, entertainment and banking. The younger generation of today is exposed to it more so than ever, which naturally brings about a certain level of expectation, especially when it comes to money matters.
Millennials anticipate leading-edge technology solutions to manage and access their finances ‘on the go’. Digital banking and mobile banking apps form a huge part of consumer banking behaviour in response to evolving forces of customer expectations. Therefore, isn’t it time we entrusted the management of our wealth to technological solutions?
It’s not uncommon for affluent clients to bank with several financial providers across different jurisdiction and it would be difficult to manage without technology. Relationship managers can offer direct communication with access to sophisticated technological infrastructure and investment positions via secure digital channels.
Let me tell you something
Just because a wealth provider focuses on face-to-face or other direct contact with their clients, it doesn’t make them technophobes or a tech-free zone. Relationship managers are also skilled in the use of high-technology systems and tools that underwrite the advice, analysis and evaluation of investment strategies to cater for their clients’ needs.
Clients receive the best customer experience from wealth managers who invest time to understand wealthy individuals’ specific nuances and needs, forming close relationships that can only be developed through face-to-face conversations. In fact, in some cases clients would be more comfortable to tell their relationship manager something in person, as opposed to using technology.
This type of personal contact really counts, especially in a crisis. Direct and regular engagement helps establish foundations for long-term relationships with wealth management clients, enhancing mutual trust. Thus, when the sector encountered the market uncertainties from the Covid-19 outbreak, relationship managers were already familiar with their individual clients and their circumstances. Wealth managers seamlessly addressed clients’ concerns, offered reassurance or advice and assisted with transactions where clients rebalanced their portfolios or took advantage of market opportunities created by the volatility.
The past few months have presented a challenge to us all in keeping up these conversations. Video-conferencing brands have become household names. Wealth providers have become a dab hand at organising and orchestrating virtual meetings and webinars for clients, existing and new.
Jersey leading the way
Whatever the balance, wealth providers in Jersey are well placed to provide financial services and solutions to their clients across the globe. The Island has been a major offshore financial centre for over 50 years, with vast industry knowledge in wealth management and structuring, well supported by technology. According to Jersey Finance, Jersey is one of the best-connected jurisdictions in the world and has world-class data centres.
Tanmay Saha is the head of retail banking at Standard Chartered Bank Jersey. His responsibilities include positioning Jersey as a preferred international booking centre for our network clients across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Tanmay has worked in three different markets across Asia and the Middle East before moving to Jersey in 2018. Prior to joining Standard Chartered Bank, Tanmay worked at ICICI Bank, Sodexho Pass Service India Private Ltd and Aptech. He has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management and a BS Hons in statistics, physics and maths from Sambalpur University.