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Private Banking: Building a Culture of Excellence by Boris F. J. Collardi

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Chapter 1

A Framework for Excellence in Private Banking

One of the strangest lessons of the financial crisis was that despite the large number of people who were aware of the direction in which things were going and the many warnings sounded, the outcome was in a sense unavoidable because there were too many short-term—and short-sighted—incentives that were not aligned with long-term goals. As a business, wealth management poses interesting intellectual challenges: How can long-term goals of capital preservation and appreciation be matched with short-term market fluctuations? Another question is how do we achieve this while serving one of the most demanding client groups in a fast-growing and highly competitive market? This “culture of excellence” demands that one accepts basic assumptions, attitudes, practices, and concepts upon which to build a business capable of satisfying the most demanding clients. The best time to do that is not when business is booming; the foundations must be laid well in advance to take advantage of the opportunities provided by a crisis or recession.

Is it possible to change systems and alter the incentive structure based on one single event or a particular insight? Rarely is this the case. Too often, institutions tend to stick with the paradigm that they have chosen and, furthermore, fail to communicate it or to inspire employees. Often, individuals are not even aware of the bigger picture and how they fit into it. People in banking generally know what ...

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