So having spent three of the last four weeks in Shanghai, it was time for me to move on over the weekend. Following a 4 ½ hour flight, my flight touched down at Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 2, and at 7pm as the plane coasted to a halt the captain
proudly announced the outside temperature was 86 degrees. This was nothing to the temperature that, unbeknown to me would be felt inside the baggage reclaim hall.
After disembarking a rather full Airbus A320, which according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A320_family) can hold 220 passengers,
I made my way through immigration and found myself standing at the luggage carrousel where I was greeted by a member of the airline’s baggage handling team. Rather politely, my fellow passengers and I were informed that most of the luggage had been left behind
in Shanghai and that we needed to speak to a ‘Lost & Found Agent’ in order for the airline to tack our bags and ultimately reunite us, not a great start!
What does this have to do with high net worth individuals, Wealth & Private Banking? Absolutely nothing, but I felt I had to share. But what happened next certainly does.
As I sat down with the ‘Lost & Found’ associate we began to file a lost luggage report, I was asked some qualifying questions to help identify my bag, its colour and contents. Well, it’s a black canvas suit case with wheels, it has clothes inside and a
few electrical leads, very common and not exactly unique. I was then asked about any tags on my bag, I happened to mention that it was tagged with the ‘Gold Card’ of a certain international airline, and not one that had any connection with the flight I had
just flown on, they weren’t even part of the same alliance, but at that point the whole conversation changed. My ‘Lost & Found’ associate suddenly became my relationship manager, she realised I travelled a lot, she saw me as a client rather than a number,
all of a sudden nothing became too much trouble.
My service experience became unique and it got me thinking about our industry, I had just been profiled, similar to what we do within a financial services firm when using financial planning software.
Relationship managers face many challenges in this industry, understanding the evolving HNWI needs and refuting the growing skepticism about the merits of the financial markets arebut, just the beginning. If we consider Asia, the fragmented nature of the
Asian financial services markets means different regulatory frameworks, a range of cultures and behaviours, varying access to and requirements for investment vehicles, and different risks appetites of HNWIs in each country.
One size does not fit all. Service personalisation relies on an extensive historic view of the HNWI’s requirements, preferences and behaviours, as did my travel profile. However, this customer insight needs to be built up over time and is not a one step
Financial institutions now need to take a fresh look at their business models, market segment industries, client acquisition and retention strategies and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements in order to stay competitive in this marketplace.
Those of you interested will be glad to hear, my experience had a happy ending, my suit case, all its content and myself were thankfully re-united at 11:45am the following day.
I am now in Singapore for the next month and will keep you posted with any observations, focusing on the changing business environment, but as always, please feel free to post your thoughts on the challenges faced by financial services firms servicing the
wealth management needs of Asia’s high net worth individuals.