We look after and help clients find appropriate solutions to their financial challenges. Every client comes to us with a very unique set of financial complexities. So, it’s about trying to help them navigate a challenging environment, any which way we can.
‘We’re a private bank, so we do that through mortgages, foreign exchange, current accounts and a large range of savings accounts. We can also support clients in their business capacity when they are looking for capital to grow. It’s key to us that we understand the individual – and can consider their personal wealth and business wealth as one and the same.’
Our clients tend to be entrepreneurial, time poor and actively growing their wealth. They have complexity in their income stream, for example, they might be an owner/manager of a business.
We make no assumptions about our clients or what their circumstances might be. We’re just eager to try and understand as much as we can about them and the business that they’re in, so that we can help them in the best way possible.
Investec is a founder-led business and has been in the UK for 25 years. The entrepreneurial nature of our founders has seeped through and they tend to employ individuals who are entrepreneurial in their spirit and, therefore, tend to have a good rapport with the type of clients we work best with.
We’re very, very clear that we view client relationships as long-term partnerships. We want to be able to add the most value. And to achieve that we need to understand our client’s ambitions and their challenges both in their personal lives and their day to day business capacity.
Finding the right partner who can really help our clients to navigate the risk, and separate the myth from the truth, is huge. We feel we can very much be a trusted partner to help clients do that, and help them to pursue all the opportunities with decent commercial potential, and help them to manage that risk.
We excel in dealing with the clients that don’t fit the mould; they don’t fit into certain boxes. They need something a little bit different; something bespoke. So, we provide a service that caters for that. We think of ourselves as the Savile Row tailors of private banking – we consider the uniqueness of the client, and come up with a unique solution. No two scenarios are the same. Everybody comes to us with a different set of circumstances and we enjoy that.
Even though we have the third largest wealth business in the UK, we don’t require assets under management to be placed with them in order to bank with us, which is often a typical requirement for other private banks, making us quite unique.
Our private capital business is also a little bit different within the private bank. We find the appropriate source of capital for the client, but we also look at that client and understand that their wealth and personal life are tied into their business.
Five to ten years ago, when we had a more stable environment, the capital structure that would have been in place or offered didn’t need to be as flexible. Now, the sands are shifting on a daily or weekly basis, so you have to have that flexibility in your capital structure in order to be able to adapt. I think that’s certainly something we have right. In terms of client expectation, that flexibility is something they want and need.
As an international bank, we can deal with complexity quickly. We work in a fast-paced environment, where global economic and political changes can have a huge impact on business. We bring clients holistic solutions that we feel are appropriate to their requirements.
Uncertainty around Brexit has affected sentiment in the marketplace, but most of our clients, at the moment, are seeing it as an opportunity to acquire assets and get involved in things that previously wouldn’t have been available. The climate is disruptive on one hand, but on the other it’s about us elevating the opportunities that our clients otherwise wouldn’t have had available.
Dublin-born Eileen trained as a chartered accountant, and has worked previously for KPMG and Deloitte, among others. She’s now based in London. Here she outlines a typical day…
No two days are the same and that keeps me focused. A day might start with a business breakfast debate around the implications of Brexit on our clients, and then a meeting with an entrepreneur who needs to extract cash from his or her business in order to buy property. I then might move onto a meeting with colleagues from other parts of the bank, where we discuss finding a holistic solution for a mutual client.
We take corporate responsibility very seriously at Investec and I’m part of a mental health focus group, so we might then meet to discuss a new initiative to increase awareness in the bank.
Then, I might finish the day with an external networking event, with inspiring entrepreneurial individuals.
The role is really varied and the challenge is trying to really understand the uniqueness of every client that sits in front of you and really finding the solution that’s going to work for them.
A lot of clients will come to me and say it’s very refreshing to have an open conversation with their private banker and feel like they’re really being listened to and that someone is actually trying to find a solution to something that’s not straightforward. It’s the nature of the role and what I enjoy about it.
Photographs: Rahul Khona
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