Skills you'll need in wealth management

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Wealth management is a sector where individual performance is measured by how much revenue you can generate from your clients, so it’s not surprising that all relationship managers need to have “great selling skills”.

“Clients and prospects generally give you limited time to express and sell your thoughts and ideas in a compelling way,” says Jullie Kan, managing director and vice chairman Southeast Asia, private banking Asia Pacific, at Credit Suisse.

This means you need to be a “people person” with an extroverted personality, a high emotional intelligence, and enough “social savviness” to build long-term business relationships with a personal touch, she says. “You must decipher unspoken and unwritten communication signals from clients and co-workers to win relationships, trust and respect. No one likes to deal with an insensitive and aloof personality.”

No one likes to deal with an insensitive and aloof personality

“You also have to enjoy being with people and be able to flex your style to different personalities. Be able to demonstrate that you understand the client through open questioning,” adds Dylan Williams, managing director, head of England and Wales at Coutts.

Knowledge of financial products is important, but a private banker must always present their advice to clients in a way they can easily understand. And it must extend beyond investments and financial markets to estate planning and other services. “No two clients are the same, and no two investment products are the same. Because of this, wealth managers have to be adept at combining the available products in the market with the individual preferences of the client,” says Raymond Ang, managing director, regional market manager Singapore, at UBS Wealth Management.

Williams says that having the confidence to communicate economic and market views will earn you creditability with clients. “Exhibit strong knowledge of markets and products, with reasonable technical savviness in the analytics of investments and macro markets,” adds Kan. You also need to be “reasonably strong in mathematics”, with good analytical skills for analysing graphs and charts, she adds.

While you don’t need advanced IT skills to be a relationship manager, an interest in technology is a must. Private banks are investing more in mobile platforms that provide investment information to clients, so you’ll need a thorough understanding of how these systems work when discussing or demonstrating them to clients.

Having the confidence to communicate economic and market views will earn you creditability with clients

Private bankers often face onerous revenue targets, so you must be able to soak up pressure. Above all, Kan says private banking demands patience. “It’s all about relationship banking and client relationships take time to nurture and harness. It’s one profession that can extend beyond the client themselves to creating relationships with the next generation and their business partners.”

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