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The banking jobs : Relationship Manager
Christian Lang joined the Group in 2014 and recently became Relationship Manager at BNP Paribas Wealth Management, supporting new and existing clients on their asset management journey. We asked him what it takes to work in wealth management in Germany and how to deliver top quality service to clients.
Earlier this year you became Director at BNP Paribas Wealth Management. Can you briefly describe your job?
In my role as a relationship manager, I’m responsible for onboarding new clients to BNP Paribas Wealth Management. After onboarding new clients, I support new and existing clients with a holistic, general approach to manage their assets. That includes the main task of asset management and also helping clients leverage other service offerings across the entire bank.
What lessons have you learned during your time working in wealth management?
In wealth management, you really need to know the clients very well—and each client is different. This means that each client has different needs, meaning it is important to listen carefully and to identify the individual requirements. This is especially crucial with wealthy clients. Being good in that regard enables you to provide the best service possible, and allows you to deliver a tailored solution unique to every situation.
What type of relationship do you build with your clients?
I have very close relationships with my clients. My time is spent building trusting relationships that are the base for successful long-term relationships. I know all my clients personally and I am responsible for all points regarding their relationship with our bank, but the focus is to manage their assets. For some, they want to talk nearly every day, but there are others with whom I only talk three of four times a year. It really depends on the client’s financial needs as well as their personalities—and that’s why getting to know them and understanding their unique requirements is so very crucial.
What makes a great financial advisor?
A great financial advisor understands what phase of life the client is in at any moment. Once you understand this, then you can provide the client with a caring, tailored approach that directly meets their needs. It is also very important to take the ‘whole family’ approach, which means you are not only managing the money of a single person, someone who is perhaps at a later stage in their life. The ‘whole family’ approach takes into consideration that you’re managing family money intended to last for generations.
On top of these two important things, a good financial advisor must have excellent market knowledge. You have to be updated every day on what’s happening in the markets so you can provide your clients with clear recommendations. We have an advisory desk in Frankfurt that does a great job supporting us with this type of knowledge.
A great financial advisor understands what phase of life the client is in at any moment. Once you understand this, then you can provide the client with a caring, tailored approach that directly meets their needs.
What makes Germany unique in the wealth management market?
Germany is a very large and competitive market for wealth management. This means that clients are quite cost sensitive and, as such, the margins are not that high. What is special about Germany is that digital plays quite a large role. Our clients are increasingly looking for digital solutions throughout their entire interaction with the bank. One way we achieve this, for example, is to work closely with Consorsbank, which offers its full range of products online. This provides advantages such as the ability to sign contracts with Consorsbank clients via mobile TAN (transaction authentication number).
Our clients are increasingly looking for digital solutions throughout their entire interaction with the bank.
On top of this, we are also working on dashboards and digital interaction with our clients during the advisory stage. We aim to increase the number of digital client acquisitions by doing this. This digitally-driven strategy gives us a massive advantage when compared to our competitors in Germany because they have to restructure and close branches in order to reduce costs. We don't have to, because we don’t have branches, so we can already focus on acquiring clients digitally and don't lose time in restructuring our model.
What is the most memorable thing that has happened on the job?
Some of the most remarkable moments are the times when you have appointments with CEOs of very large firms. You’re sitting together with these leaders and they really value your advice on the security of their assets. It’s very rewarding to get positive feedback from them.
The other thing is that we get to share fantastic events with our clients, for example the European football tournament in Paris in 2016. And, of course, we can take our clients to the French Open, where BNP Paribas is the major sponsor. All of these are special, remarkable moments that we have the opportunity to experience.
Photos : header ©Mike Mareen
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