The need for dynamic business planning and implementation has never been greater, attendees of the 2017 eprivateclient Annual Trust Dinner heard.
Group business development director of First Names Group, Matthew Haynes, told diners that the fiduciary services industry bar is rising fast and that they need to ensure that their organisations are able to keep up with the pace of change.
He used the example of American football coach Bill Walsh, who led the San Francisco 49ers to multiple victories between 1979 and 1989 despite the team having a particularly poor record before his tenure.
"His [Bill Walsh] ethos was simple, if everyone from the receptionist to the quarterback shares a common vision and delivers their skill to the very highest standard, then the score takes care of itself."
Given the current challenges and opportunities, Mr Haynes believes that it is more important than ever to have the right foundations in place, the right strategic plan, technology, service offering and most importantly, people.
Although growth targets have their place, Mr Haynes stated that what he calls "intuitive motivation" is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. He defines this concept as the motivation to meaningfully contribute to the success of a business which is not dominated by financial reward.
This goes hand in hand with the internal alignment to a common goal which is understood and widely bought into. For Mr Haynes, the way targets are implemented and their impact on behaviour and culture needs to be very carefully considered.
Using the same example, Mr Haynes told diners that Bill Walsh thought that 80 percent of the outcome of each game was within his team's control. In relation to business development, he considers there to be a large number of controllable elements with one being existing clients.
According to Mr Haynes, existing clients normally generate more new business than any other source. He believes that "a tangible and organised" investment of time dedicated to this group would offer an organisation the ability to retain clients as well as discover if there are any other services that they require.
Looking internally, Mr Haynes stated that staff are the most "important and costly asset" for a firm. As clients become more complex and demanding, technical expertise becomes paramount.
Businesses need to ensure that they have continuity from staff and of service if they wish to retain clients, Mr Haynes said. In addition, developing the next generation is vital, he noted, albeit time consuming. He also advised diners to look outside fiduciary services to find the right people.
Mr Haynes also observed that firms are having to travel further afield to win new business, which brings new challenges, not least, risk. Targeting markets such as Asia and the Middle East is a challenge that is facing the industry especially considering the diversity of geography, culture and maturity.
For Mr Haynes, the key is to have a cultural business alignment across jurisdictions and service lines, allowing organisations to react to market trends as well as retaining core business values. Firms must maintain business and cultural fibre whilst searching for new opportunities without getting dragged into a race to the bottom.
"Ultimately we all have one common goal, to build meaningful internal and external relationships. If we get this right then the score will take care of itself," he concluded.
The inaugural eprivateclient Annual Trust Dinner was held on Tuesday 28 November at The Goring Hotel in London. The dinner was attended by 14 heads of trust or fiduciary services (or the like), chief executives and managing directors. It included speeches from Stephenson Harwood's James Quarmby, Julius Baer International's Alan Hooks and Mr Haynes and was chaired by executive vice chairman at Rothschild Paul Stibbard. The dinner was kindly sponsored by Julius Baer International.
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