Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Forest for the Trees III - Playing to Win

Thursday, January 02, 2003  

It's time to examine the strengths and opportunities my company has in the marketplace in 2003. Once again I'll review our two LOB's separately.

Wealth Management
Over the last 40 years there have been no shortage of companies jumping in and out of the trust business. Two recent notables are Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo. The trust side of wealth management is difficult, low-margin and susceptible to litigation. However, our company has managed to carve out a niche that's lasted decades, acquiring the people it needs to provide the client service necessary in this business while still performing as a fiduciary. And we've done that. So what do we do to build on that reputation and our knowledge of the local markets, beating off the invaders once again? And what's information services got to do with all this?

1. Tie ourselves closer to our "retail channel," the CPA's and attorneys in our markets. Do this with partner portals or some other electronic method of sharing appropriate data. Make certain that reciprocity gets rewarded and one-sided relationships are either turned around or frozen out.

2. Make our expertise visible. With the rise of customer portals, weblogs and the like there's no reason we shouldn't be getting regional, if not national, attention with our subject matter experts. If they don't have the time to do it, then the department needs to be restructured to make the time. In the marketplace of expertise, we can't just compete, we can flourish!

3. Enhance the real estate department's processes. Yes, I mentioned real estate in the prior post and I'll mention it again here. Whatever would create greater efficiencies, such as electronic data exchanges between property managers, insurance companies and us, we need to pursue. This is our greatest strength in the wealth management arena. We should exploit it ruthlessly.

4. Support the sales force with better mobile tools. With the advent of metropolitan wireless internet access points, 2003 may finally be the year that sales can bring the whole office with them anywhere, anytime.

Commercial Banking
The greatest strength in our commercial banking product mix is our competitive advantage -- we are the low cost provider for wires and demand deposit accounts and we offer a notification system that beats out most established banks. We must continue to chase business in the title & escrow markets apart from our parent company. Without the ability to lend, our strength is in our wire processing product and the infrastructure that supports it.

1. Tie customers closer to us by enhancing the wire product. Create more interfaces with customer accounting systems, continue to revise the (open-source) notification system with their input and throw it all in as part of the basic wire fee.

2. The name of the game continues to be volume. The real-time enterprise is upon us. We must continue to build the tools that monitor and repair any problems in the transactional processes.

Our strengths are what give me cautious optimism. Even though we don't have all the pieces to be a global (or even national) powerhouse, we have what we need to be a regional force to be reckoned with. And for the employees who want to affect the company positively and be a part of a success story, these are the kinds of opportunities we need to grasp.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 1/02/2003 04:53:00 PM

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