The evolution of the financial industry
How did the financial industry evolve during your 30 years in banking?
The two main areas that come to mind are the rapid technology development and the tightening of the regulatory environment. The necessary involvement of Banks in the fight against financial crime and anti-money laundering has impacted both the way we do business and the operational environment. This challenge needs to be addressed with diligence, improved technology and efficient access and collection of relevant information. The Industry has learned that banking risk is no longer only about operational and credit risk but also regulatory and reputational risk. Banking is about trust and the clients need to be confident that they are dealing with a financially stable and reputable Bank.
How is Banque Havilland leading this evolution?
Adhering to regulations is the responsibility of every bank and an integral part of banking business. We are very confident in our position to undertake our obligations in a most efficient manner and turning it into a competitive advantage – being faster and more efficient than our competitors and making the process as seamless as possible for our clients. We also see it as an opportunity to take our regulatory KYC obligations one step further by getting to know our clients even better from a commercial perspective, integrating our Wealth Planning and Structuring capabilities in the process to maximise the value of our services at the outset and throughout the whole client relationship.
Looking ahead, accelerated digitalisation will help us to serve clients in a more efficient manner. We see digital technology and personal relationship with our bankers as complementary. It provides flexibility in the interaction and improved customer experience and efficiency for both our clients and our staff.
In addition to technology, it is vital that we attract well-educated, ambitious and diverse young people, with skills in the right areas and who are ready to lead us into the future. We strongly value initiatives aiming to align educational programs with the needs of the financial sector.
How has the Covid situation impacted your business?
Last year, everything happened very fast and required resolute and quick actions. We have a strong integrated platform allowing for full flexibility in remote systems accesses and well developed digital client channels. We extended the use of Web technology to efficiently interact with our clients, share insights, and guide them through these challenging times. Around 90% of our staff has been working from home with a minimum impact on our operations or our client interaction. Our platform has allowed us to be close to our clients from day one and to reassure them that we are up and running, ready to provide insights, support and guidance.
On the staff side, once people got used to work from home, most of them have appreciated the possibility to be there for their families whilst being able to work remotely – it has released a lot of pressure.
We are of course cognisant about the negative impact on social interactions and made extra efforts to engage with our employees through frequent communication by utilising technology to ensure that everyone feels engaged, understands what is going on and stays connected to their teams.
We also feel that our core values were reinforced during the pandemic; empowering and putting trust in our staff has resulted in a strong commitment to professionally continue to serve our clients and meet our obligations despite the challenges.
There are many learning points to consider in the industry and how this situation will impact the working environment and the client interaction, that by default has become more remote and reliant on digital channels than before. We continuously improve our technology and closely follow the industry and regulatory evolution on the back of the Covid crisis. We positively monitor the flexible working trend in the long run whilst also taking into account the implication on cybersecurity and the way we manage risks.