FirstBank Private Banking: Our clients are keeping us on our toes | World Finance

FirstBank Private Banking: Our clients are keeping us on our toes | World Finance


World Finance: Idowu Thompson is Group Head
of Private Banking for FirstBank of Nigeria. FBN’s 125 year heritage in Nigeria, and growing
international network, gives the private banking division a strong foundation to provide best-in-class,
bespoke services to its high net worth clients. Idowu – who are your clients, and how do
you work to understand their unique banking needs? Idowu Thompson: Our clients are largely ultra-high-net-worth, or high-net-worth, individuals. These clients cut across different cultures,
different backgrounds, levels of education, age, gender, religion. One of the things we pride ourselves in doing
is not just listening to our customers, but also hearing them. There are two ways in which we do that. So, one involves looking at what their buying
patterns are; looking at their behavioural patterns are in terms of what they’re demanding,
what they’ve used historically, in terms of the proposition – the private banking proposition. The other part, which is also more qualitative,
involves sitting with them and getting a deeper insight as to their individualities. There’s a need for us to be able to treat
them as individuals. What we try to do is to put the piece of our
own expertise – in terms of investment knowledge, in terms of the wealth management offerings,
in terms of what’s available out there in the global trends – and make some of these
things available to them, so that they can make the right decisions for themselves. And continue to see us as their bankers of first choice. World Finance: Tell me more about the changes
that you’re seeing in your clients and their financial services needs. Idowu Thompson: Our clients are a lot more
demanding these days, in a very good way. A lot of the clients want high yield on their
portfolios; at the same time a lot of them also want the safety of their portfolios! And what that has done for us is to also put
us on our toes, as the leading private bank in Nigeria. There’s a lot more questions around the wealth
management needs. A lot of what we are seeing now is the demand
for a relationship – and not just a relationship with the individual, but also the relationship
with the family. So in those instances we talk about things
like family benefits, family recognition. And just being able to know our clients thoroughly,
and help them actualise their financial goals. And in that way we find out that we’re able
to build trust. We’re also able to add value to them in terms
of the quality of advice that we give to them. So I think by so doing, it’s a bit easier
for us to work on longer-term relationships, and create the kind of stickiness that we
would seek with our clients. World Finance: How important is having the
125 year heritage of the FirstBank Group to building and maintaining that trust? Idowu Thompson: Well I can say to you Paul
that it’s a fantastic feeling for me. It makes my job easier. There’s a saying that FirstBank, in terms
of a corporate entity, is a bank where everyone runs to as a flight to safety. We’re under a very dynamic executive team,
and a very well-focused board. The banking sector in Nigeria has indeed gone
through some transformation; but one of the tests of us as FirstBank, and as the leading
bank, is the fact that we’ve been able to stand firm. We’ve been able to make good progress, even
when the environmental climes were challenged. And we are heading in the right direction
– I can see that clearly. World Finance: So finally, what does the future
hold for FirstBank Private Banking, and for your clients? Idowu Thompson: In terms of what the future
holds, we want to be the clear leader, and also the private bank of first choice for
our clients. We do expect that there’s going to be a lot
more competition coming in from the non-traditional institutions; so you’re going to see a lot
more insurance companies, asset management companies, deploying wealth management solutions,
providing advisory services, to their clients. We also have competitors coming from offshore
banks; even from the developed banks that have representative offices in Nigeria. So for us, it’s being able to be anticipatory. It’s about being able to create innovative
products for our clients. It’s about being able to find the role of
technology in what we’re doing. It’s also about being able to comply with
the regulatory requirements – and a lot has changed in that clime. You’re looking at requirements like the Common
Reporting Standards. We’re also looking at the GIPS, which basically
impacts how investment managers reflect the performance of their portfolios. But what I can dare say is that for us as
FirstBank Private Banking, and as an institution in FirstBank, with the leadership of the bank,
with the board, the management: we are thinking steps ahead. A journey is not a race that’s won in one
day. And that’s the way we’ve tried to position
ourselves. We are indeed a bank that’s here to stay,
and a bank that would continue to be the leading choice for Nigerians. World Finance: Idowu, thank you very much. Idowu Thompson: Thank you very much Paul. Thanks for watching. Learn more at firstbanknigeria.com. Click now for more videos from the world’s
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