Relationship Management

The sheer amount of professionals that make up the work force of gigantean investment banks can be a little overwhelming to say the least. These behemoths need a friendly human face to build relationships, make connections and ensure the clients are getting what they really need from their services. Here’s where relationship management steps in…

The face of investment banking

Relationship managers belong to the investment management team in an investment bank. This is where a group of personable and highly client-facing professionals team up to provide tailored advice to the bank’s client network, dealing with extremely wealthy individuals (high net worth individuals) to governments to financial institutions like trusts, pension funds or insurance companies. Private wealth managers in the team will most commonly deal with high net worth individuals and the organisations and relatives associated with them.

Clients are usually assigned one relationship manager when they open accounts with an investment bank or approach them for their services. A relationship manager has the challenge of building a close relationship with each of their clients. They must figure out their financial goals and recommend suitable investment products/strategies for their asset portfolios; bringing in the relevant teams from across the bank to work on the portfolio of assets. They must take care to determine the levels of service and communication for each client, for example how often does a client like to receive updates? What’s the best means of correspondence?

Expectations in relationship management

This particular area of investment banking is a popular one. Yes, there will be networking. There may very well be some fancy dinners and exclusive events. However, it’s not just being able to schmooze well and maintain good relationships. These guys have to know their stuff when it comes to investment and the bank’s services. They must also be able to discuss risk management and risk level tolerances with clients. The recommendations they make have to do the business, or else there may ultimately be a real struggle ahead to keep hold of a client.

Another big responsibility of the relationship managers is business development. They’ll make presentations and pitches to prospective new clients, and seek out potential new individuals and companies to try and attract to their bank’s services.

Confidence, charm and charisma are, of course, all vital for relationship management. But you’ll need to have your business wits about you too; not to mention up to date commercial awareness. Listening and flexibility is also important! The client and top customer service is paramount, so there could be some long, unsociable hours involved to fit around clients’ busy schedules. On the other hand, you could very well get to work with some famous individuals and organisations, your day will always be varied, and salaries have the potential to reach six-figures with top investment banks.

As with all investment banking roles, developing a career in relationship management won’t be a walk in the part. You’ll nearly always need a degree to get in, and finance related degrees tend to be preferred. Work on getting an internship with an investment bank, because without this experience it will be an uphill struggle to get any closer to a graduate position!