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Talk Exchange

Affluent Banking – a vision of tomorrow

Chief Financial & Risk Officer at Alpian
Caroline Delprat
Group 7 Article, 3 min read

The world of banking and investment is experiencing an experiential overhaul. And it’s about time. But what does the picture look like for a new investor stepping into this big, new world for the first time?

Are you one of those people?

I mean, one of those people who always plans the details of everyday life. Like buying that delicious bottle of red wine for your party with friends tonight. Or sketching invites for your kid’s birthday party in 3 months. Or making an intricate itinerary for the next big family summer holiday. Also, in the back of your mind, are you asking yourself if you’re on the right path to fulfil your long-term financial goals? By the way, what are they, exactly?

While some of the details of life are easy to manage, some don’t have clear answers. And of all the uncertainties in a lifetime, financial ones are often the most difficult to discuss. Either because you’re not clear about your financial goals yet, or because you don’t know whom to discuss them with.

Ah, but wait. Isn’t that what ‘service’ in banking service is all about?

In essence, banking services were intended to help people like you and me channel money towards our needs and goals. From something as fundamental as protecting and maintaining our wealth to investing in sustainable energy start-ups, we should be able to rely of their financial expertise to help us every step of the way. Of course, reality is still trying to catch up with this ideal vision.

Today, we are accustomed to a higher level of service, thanks to technology and a deeper understanding of human needs.

The Empathy Gap

A major need for today’s customers is great customer experience. Imagine the scene: you call to open a relationship and discuss one of the most important aspects of your life… but you are turned away and asked to book a 1-hour meeting, next week. So, you wait for this precious 12pm time slot, next Tuesday.

On D-day you walk into this well-established bank with your concerns, questions and even some ideas for your financial future. But most of those minutes are spent discussing administrative topics and signing heaps of unclear document. After 50 minutes, an account is finally opened, and you come to the investment discussion you’ve been waiting for.

After dispensing a few common tips, the advisor usually asks if you have any children, so that they can open an account for each one, and then they suggest that you invest in their generic fund after assessing your risk profile with questions like, “what is your time horizon for investing?” and “how far are you risk averse?”.

Perhaps you walked in to invest money in a secure way but also with a strong desire to invest in ethical companies. Perhaps you have different objectives and so envision different time horizons for your investments. Perhaps the broad risk adversity category you’ve been placed in does not truly reflect your investment appetite or motivations.

What could have been a fruitful discussion that began with understanding your needs, is quickly derailed by a one-size-fits-all approach. And you, as a customer, are left with a sub-par experience.

Today, we are accustomed to a higher level of service, thanks to technology and a deeper understanding of human needs. Banks need to keep their eyes, ears and minds open to the customer to truly understand them. I do have needs and expectations, doubts and fears. Aren’t banks there to advise me?

Great Expectations

However, where there’s a problem, there is a world of opportunity. Nowadays, questions of customer needs can be asked and answered by a new generation of banking services. The ever-evolving digital space can give rise to new technologies, a shift in the mindset of banking leaders and, perhaps most importantly, a renewed focus on the needs of clients. In this day and age, you don’t need to be a financial expert to receive guidance to navigate the world of investment or to start investing. This means a world of choice, nuance and flexibility to choose what you do with your money and how you do it.

Now Picture This

They say that today’s luxuries are tomorrow’s necessities. So, what can and should you expect from your new banking and investment service?

Smooth Access

With the advent of digital services, we can expect to open an account in a few minutes and from anywhere, with flexibility and minimum administrative procedures.

A Human Touch

While inroads are being made into AIs that can give advice, they are perhaps still a while away from dedicated human advisors who are invested in our success and take the time to grasp our nuanced investment needs and goals.

Deeper Understanding of Risk

Yes, it is still important to understand a potential investor’s risk profile. However, we can expect new (and compliant) processes that integrate our psychological bias to paint a clearer picture of our risk aversion and provide insights beyond what we can provide ourselves.

Jargon-free Knowledge

A key concern of first-time investors is the lack of understanding of the world of investment and finance. It’s not easy to part with hard-earned money when we don’t know where it’s going. Imagine an expert explaining investment to us in a way that we can easily understand and apply to fulfil our goals.

Isn’t that already a better picture? With an empathetic bank to help us with our financial goals, we can focus on the precious details of life, like our kid’s birthday party or our evening with friends.

And picking up the wine!

Group 7 Article, 3 min read
About the author
Caroline Delprat
Chief Financial & Risk Officer at Alpian

Caroline holds a Master’s degree of Management from the Institute of Mines – Telecom Business School, an MSc in Finance from HEC Montreal and passed as well the Level 1 of the CFA. She started her career in the banking area as Internal Auditor for Crédit Agricole CIB before being promoted to Risk Analyst and later was put in charge of Internal Control and Risks. Most recently, she worked for Banque Profil de Gestion as Risk Officer & Finance/Accounting Associate.
Caroline is fond of old movies.