In an interview with Specialist Banking, Peter Izard, business development manager at Investec (pictured above), talks about training staff, incorporating tech and changing trends in private banking.
You’ve previously stated that training your business development managers (BDMs) can take up to a year. What methods of training do you use when you bring in a new member to the sales team?
The training is varied and diverse. In the early weeks, it includes spending time with various departments throughout the private bank, including the private bankers, credit, product and marketing. Added to this, a new team member would spend an extensive amount of time with myself and the other BDMs in the office. After two to three months training, a new team member would start to join meetings with myself and the BDM team.
Throughout this time, the BDM has the opportunity to learn our systems, processes and procedures in a proactive and live environment. After six months, a new BDM will begin undertaking meetings both as the lead in partnership meetings and alone. The following six months they would build on the knowledge gained with continuous support and encouragement.
How have you incorporated tech into your lending processes? Do you have less of a focus on this as a private bank?
Technology always plays its part and we continue to build new systems and processes to ensure that our intermediaries and their clients benefit from the time saving and speed they provide.
However, we pride ourselves on our people-focused approach and, with the complexity of our lending, human intervention will remain an essential ingredient. Our BDMs and private bankers are wholly interlinked in their collaborative approach to assisting our intermediary partners and their clients.
Where technology is relevant and appropriate we, of course, embrace the benefits — but bespoke private banking will continue to need expert human intervention and specialist support.
What changing trends have you noticed in the private banking world?
A number of changes have occurred in recent years, the first being the competitive nature of the lending landscape. The established larger retail lenders are now increasing the size of the loans they will offer their clients and a growing number of private banks no longer require assets under management, commonly known as AUM.
As in the retail space, pricing is also coming under pressure and I have seen a gradual reduction in rates across the private bank landscape.
If you could change one thing about the banking industry, what would it be?
A good question, and with only one thing to choose, this will be very difficult to narrow down. I am a great believer in transparency and fairness, and I would like to see the wider banking industry become even more transparent, with more providers simplifying their product offering and providing access to a wider range of clients.
How did you get into the industry?
When I left college after completing my A-levels, personal family circumstances prevented me from attending university, so not knowing what career I wanted to embark on, I tried retail (WH Smith) and health (NHS) before my first role in financial services: working as a life inspector at the Wesleyan and General.
My sister worked for them and said I would be well suited to the role. I never looked back, and those early years were such a great grounding. After a few years, I began to specialise in mortgages as I quickly began to appreciate the huge opportunity the sector offered my clients.
If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing?
I have, in recent years, seen myself take a greater interest in politics. Aside from the current political turmoil that exists, I would not rule out running to be a member of parliament. I feel I have a wealth of industry and life experience and would like to offer my skill set to making a difference to society. Last year, my intervention in the Southern Rail debacle saw me attend meetings with many politicians, and my involvement, I would like to think, has delivered some positive results.
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