To be a successful private banker or a relationship manager requires some qualities. It hardly matters which part of the world you are located. Let us look at some of them:

1. Empathy for the client: Yes it is important to keep the organisation’s interest in mind, however the client’s interest should be on the top of the mind. This is the reason why you are better off being a fee only planner and not attached to a bank or a brokerage firm which has all tied relationships.

2. A good knowledge of the client’s investing requirements: When a client says ‘I can take a 30% loss in my portfolio’ he may not even UNDERSTAND that it means a Rs. 3 crores on a Rs. 10 crore portfolio (please do not laugh, this is personal experience). If you repeat and say ‘Sir it means you are saying that if your portfolio comes down to Rs. 7 crores..we will review the strategy’ – he MAY say…no no..I mean I can lose 1-2 crs, NOT 3.

3. Understand client’s goals and marry 2nd point.

4. Bond investing is not simple. First time in world history are the Central bank presses giving a competition to all the other printing companies. NO BOND FUND manager understands the implication of this. Choose your bond fund manager carefully, OR, choose ONLY short term duration fund (you will miss the cap gain in a falling interest rate scenario).

5. As a Relationship Manager you need a lot of training. In new products, understanding equity and debt markets, and a lot of macro.

6. A robust execution platform – for buying mutual funds, bonds, equities, general and life insurance, asset loan refinancing, – too many relationship managers waste time in form filling and chasing. This drains a manager and reduces productive time.

7. Be honest to customers: I have done many trades recently – I do not see this STILL as a pure investor’s paradise (not yet that is!). Some great, some good, some stupid. If it were a client’s portfolio I WOULD have to explain what went wrong. THIS IS EXACTLY where maintaining client conversations in word documents will help.

8. Even if you change jobs remember important transactions lying open in the client’s portfolio IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY because at some stage when you want to go off on your own, HE has to remember you well!!

9. Admit your mistakes, FAST. Analyze, talk to the fund manager, seek corrective action – or walk. RMs getting cosy with Fund Managers is a story reaching the HNI clients too, beware. It can hurt even if it is untrue. Sigh. Leaving a fund when it is doing well is not easy, but necessary – if it is not true to label, too concentrated, changing style from Value to Growth, etc. BE CAREFUL, and communicate to the client, and cut position at least by half.

10. If all the items in a portfolio are in the GREEN, you have not diversified enough. For example if you had US blue chips and Indian blue chips – over the past 4 years, see how it would have looked on a Q to Q basis….interesting.

Of course there are more to add…but these 10 are not a bad start. Does not matter whether you are in Beijing, Dhaka, Kolkatta, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai or Delhi….!

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