Many people describe the pandemic as ‘challenging’ and ‘unprecedented’. As a new head of private banking, how have the past 15 months been for you?
As a leadership team we’ve felt a huge sense of responsibility to our clients and our people.
It’s natural to talk about change, but my priority has been to make sure we continue to honour the close relationships we’ve built and provide the entrepreneurial thinking and personalised service that’s needed by our clients in these circumstances.
Fortunately, we’d already begun streamlining the Investec business so we could serve our clients holistically across private and corporate banking and wealth management (through Investec Wealth & Investment). That joined-up approach has been critical in enabling us to understand what’s needed in each case and act quickly.
What can Investec private banking offer to clients now the economic recovery appears to have begun?
Firstly, every situation is different. We know our clients are aspirational and many will want to move forward but it’s important we acknowledge that financial goals may have changed, which is why a one-to-one relationship with a Private Banker is so important.
We’ve never shied away from financial complexity and we have teams set up by sector so we can respond to different needs and income patterns. We also have integrated specialists from financial planning, foreign exchange and lending to provide direct assistance too.
As a bank we have a strong balance sheet and have demonstrated resilience during the pandemic which was recognised by our recent award as best bank in The Banker index. This means we can help our clients protect their wealth and seize opportunities.
We know our clients are aspirational and many will want to move forward but it’s important we acknowledge that financial goals may have changed, which is why a one-to-one relationship with a Private Banker is so important.
What about sustainability in a time of social and economic disruption?
Well, our research shows 80% of Investec clients think financial services companies can make a difference – which is a higher proportion than in the general population (48%) – so we know how important action is, not only to us as an organisation, but to those we partner with.
Understandably the impact of the pandemic on health, wellbeing and livelihoods has put ethics sharply into focus, but to be honest, this approach isn’t new for Investec.
We have a legacy of supporting our communities both in the UK, in South Africa and beyond. We’re a carbon neutral business and our Group CEO Fani Titi sits on the UN Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance. We have focused our work to date in areas such as clean energy, quality education and decent work and economic growth.
That said, you always have to keep learning and using influence. In September, Investec Wealth & Investment became one of the first signatories of the Financial Reporting Council’s UK Stewardship Code which guides investments that have a long-term positive impact.
What’s next for Investec Private Banking?
As part of delivering a full client experience across banking and wealth management, we’ll be looking at the opportunities we can provide to support wealth creation through a Private Office offering.
Another big focus for us will be on digitalisation to boost our online banking service. This will include reviewing the other products we offer to clients to make sure we’re pre-empting future needs.
The Investec network is a powerful one and to be able to partner with the types of individuals and businesses we do means we’re able to challenge ourselves and make things happen.
Do you have a message for clients?
Above all, a big thank you. I’m genuinely amazed by the people I meet and the stories I hear. The Investec network is a powerful one and to be able to partner with the types of individuals and businesses we do means we’re able to challenge ourselves and make things happen. That’s why we set up the Investec Client Council this year so people could share their experiences.
I’d also say, please get in touch. There may be more we can do for you than you think – whether it’s tailoring repayment plans for a new home, looking at financial planning and investments for you and the family through Investec Wealth & Investment or just connecting you with other likeminded people for personal and business growth. Often people put off the admin, but it can all be initiated by your Private Banker. It’s our job to listen and support you.