There is now, thanks to this blog, a whole generation of young finance students working in Off-Licenses (liquor stores) and pubs around the world asking customers “Would you like to taste my salty nuts?”
I am proud and humbled to say it was I who started the trend.
So it is that today I have for you a guest blogger by the name of Keegan Wiebe. Keegan is a 22 year old finance student, and part-time banker. In his spare time, on a student's budget of course, he enjoys fine liquors, watches, and golf (so he is well on his way to a bad liver and a big bonus). When he isn't becoming well-versed in investment strategies, he can be found on social media at @keeganwiebe or frequenting his nearest pub.
Ladies, he is also single. Just saying.
The Mythical World of Private Banking: From an Outsider's Perspective
In retail banking, we all know that private banking is where we refer our most affluent clients. But once they get there…. What happens? Does their money ride off to a land of unicorns and pink ponies, where money really does grow on trees? Or is it really just a fancy title, like being a Lord in Scotland (which I am by the way, by way of the internets)? It took my actually going there, working in an office, and learning hands on for me to even be able to explain it to my co-workers. Basically, we do very similar jobs in many ways, just with more regulation, anti-money laundering, and expensive German cars. Beyond that though, the relationship with the client is taken to a whole other level. Suddenly I understood the deer-in-the-headlights look of a private banking client in the teller line at a public branch. I understood their confusion when we couldn’t take instruction through email or phone, and that their personal assistant technically couldn’t deposit millions of dollars through our wee public branch. When I went back and shared the experience with my branch companions, it was like explaining a dream… I was amazed that no one had heard of the inner workings or the value of private banking, let alone the extra care that they could supply. Perhaps in a more extensive post I will elaborate on the difference that I heard, if I am allowed back on the Banker’s page (please have me back).
When I entered the private banking realm, I did so as a lowly casual associate… covering hirings, vacations etc. in addition to my branch-land reality. What amazed me, was that private banking actually had to ask SEVERAL people in branches to come and help… and that some had declined. What the heck?! You get to work with the highest net worth clients, and with the most powerful private bankers in the land! And you say no? The truth is that there is no knowledge of what is actually done at the offices of a private banking group. And so, the allure of it is not immediately noticeable to retail bankers.
The other point that amazed me is that I have never spoken to a fellow finance student and had them say that they wanted to be a private banker immediately. In fact, the answers that I get is “I wanna be on Wall Street!” or they don’t have a dang clue what they are going to do, and most likely end up in retail or in an auto dealership finance department (not that there is anything wrong with that, of course).
The thing that I truly believe is that private banking should have SOME public exposure, because I know many talented people who would be superb in that line of work… and yet don’t go into it because they have no idea that it exists! Often private banking has to go out and source these people, show them the magnificence and flashy cars, and only then is the career path truly appreciated. While the secretive and private nature is a definite asset for the clients, I believe that inside of the industry there should be more exposure for new graduates and other lines of business, so that the BEST bankers actually know that there is more outside of those branch walls and so that those graduates like myself actually have the knowledge to work towards and dream about a career in the private banking industry. Also, if that unicorn and pink pony land really does exist… you can find me at @KeeganWiebe… I will be awaiting my invite to the promised land.