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Q&A with Luanne Bas, senior VP and wealth market executive for Union Bank

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What makes for a successful client experience?

The first key is to make available to the client your very best thinking. There’s an old saying about two heads being better than one. This statement rings particularly true in light of the complexities of today’s economy, tax laws and the multiple objectives our clients have in mind in managing their assets.

That’s why I believe in the concept of the team approach. The purpose of this team is to encircle the client with experts from all financial areas so all of the client’s questions can be answered and important issues raised.

A typical team might consist of a banking relationship manager, a trust administrator, an investment portfolio manager, a strategic planner and a brokerage professional. The concept is to create the very best array of advisers who can help produce a holistic approach to reaching the client’s personal goals.

Like any good team, there should be a captain, and that role should be filled by the professional who is closest to the client. The trust that this leader has already built with the client is the catalyst that makes the team concept so effective. The client quickly realizes that the other members of the team are also focused only on what is in the client’s best interests.

The second key for a successful relationship is to always keep the client at the center of the relationship. It’s not about what’s the most popular investment in today’s economy, what investment is showing the highest yield (and maybe the highest risk) or what investment your company is currently emphasizing in a marketing campaign. It’s about understanding where the client is now -- their current needs and priorities.

From there, it’s important to clearly understand where the client wants to be in the future -- and if the client isn’t sure, to know the right questions to ask that will help give voice to the client’s aspirations. They may want to discuss retirement goals, passing along a successful business to their offspring, estate planning or dozens of other considerations.

When these have been fully vetted with the team, it’s a matter of clearly defining the objectives and developing a comprehensive plan for getting there.

In short, successful client experiences are built on providing valuable information that specifically pertains to the client’s asset management objectives.

How do you want to be viewed by clients?

I want to be viewed as a trusted adviser. This is a relationship that develops over time and is not achieved over that first cup of coffee or lunch with the client.

It usually occurs at that point when the client realizes that you’re not just about winning relationships, but about establishing client confidence and trust. It occurs when the client recognizes that it’s not your business goals that are primary in the relationship, but his or her savings or investment objectives.

This means that I’m making recommendations that are not “product focused.” It doesn’t matter what the incentives are for selling certain products, what matters is offering advice that is client-focused and actually product-neutral. You have to put yourself in the client’s shoes.

Submitted by Union Bank

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