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How do you Succeed as a Personal Banker? Part 1

No.1 You already did.

You already did, if you are already a Personal Banker. You had went into a role where most people prefer not to because they think

  • They have to sell products one don’t believe in
  • They have to sell risky products to customers
  • They have to pressure customer into buying wealth products they don’t need
  • They have to meet high & unreasonable sales targets
  • … …

Read: 10 Reasons Why Many Dislike Doing Financial Sales to Consumers

In other words, you had gone into a role where most people prefer not to or will give up easily.

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No. 2 Recognise a Personal Banker has Junior Advisory Skills

Relationship Manager
Relationship Manager

Since a Personal Banker comes into contact with more financial products & services than a non-banking advisor, he or she becomes confused easily in the early phase of the career.  Juggling between banking services, basic wealth products and direct exposure to stocks, bonds and foreign exchange, it is a tall order for anyone.


Services Banking Advisory Non-Banking Advisory
Banking Accounts Yes No
Remittance Services Yes No
Payment Services Yes No
Credit Cards Yes No
Loans Yes Maybe
Stocks Yes Maybe
Bonds Yes Maybe
IPOs Yes No
Foreign Exchange Yes No
Leverage Trading Maybe No
Options Maybe No
Futures Maybe No
Unit Trust Yes Yes
Structured Products Yes Maybe
Endowment Policies Yes Yes
Whole-life Policies Yes Yes
Universal Life Yes Yes
Mortgage Insurance Yes Yes
Trust Services Maybe Maybe
Tax Services Maybe Maybe
Estate Planning Maybe Maybe
Asset Structuring Maybe Maybe


In order for a Personal Banker to stand out against others (There are 14 retail banks in Singapore and 47 Private Banks), one way is to showcase an expertise, such as being more knowledgable in stocks or bonds or FX.

This is where the risks of a Personal Banker increase.  As a Personal Banker is managing individual wealth for clients, he or she needs to be providing wealth management solutions, and not risk becoming a stock broker or FX trader.  Unfortunately, a Personal Banker has to pick up all products and asset classes know-how quickly, becoming a temporary Stock Broker, FX trader, Fixed Income trader, Portfolio Manager, Investment Counsellor, Customer Service Associate – multiple roles in one.  Some call it generalist.

And after going through all roles and products cycle, the Personal Banker achieve junior financial advisory skills.  All these supposedly in less than 9 months.  Read More: Why 50% Personal Bankers quit in 9 Months


No. 3 You Educate Clients

You have to constantly educate clients.

In Retail Banking, most clients are not familiar with wealth management solutions.  They may have a basic idea of insurance, stocks & unit trusts – the more common retail products.

In Retail Banking, most clients are not familiar with wealth management solutions.  They may have a basic idea of insurance, stocks & unit trusts – the more common retail products.  Many would have prior experience investing into either insurance, stocks or unit trusts, despite not really knowing how it works.  (Just like how customers place a deposit into a bank, and receive an interest every year, and not really know how the bank is able to pay the interest.  Maybe they do, the bank can lend out the money.  But what if the borrower defaults or the bank loses money? … That becomes the bank’s problem)

You role as a Personal Banker, suddenly becomes a Professor of Wealth Management.  You have to constantly educate clients.


No. 4 You become an Uncertified Counsellor

Supporting a Distressed Client
Supporting a Distressed Client

You not only have to educate clients, you become a counsellor.  Providing financial advice to clients is no easy feat.  Firstly, you have to get to know them for obvious reasons (breaking ice, uncovering needs and the mandatory KYC – Know-Your-Clients).  Secondly you have to listen to their bad experiences, bad advice, unfortunate losses in investments.  Thirdly, you may gain unintended access to bad marriages, mistress … (not so much), but family problems, worries about children’s education and medical issues.  All these provides you with the essential information to construct and customise your wealth plan for them.

Before you can do the wealth plan for them, you become their counsellor and address their emotion needs.


No. 5 You use Jargons to Impress and ABCs to Explain

” In a recent Capgemini and Goldman Sachs study,  the World Bank and IMF, Asia has a population size of 60.64%, relative to the world.  The GDP growth forecast is … while our bank forecast is ….  Our bank is overweight on Asia, as we look at the P/E ratios, debt to equity levels, book value against current market capitalization of many companies, they looking exceedingly attractive at the current levels and … … ”

And finally

” In other words, not US but Asia is where we should look for investment opportunities. Let’s look at some of the most popular and recommended investment solutions ”

If only you could simply use the last paragraph.  Unfortunately, just like how you pay for a first-class air ticket, a stay at a 5-star hotel, visiting a doctor or specialist for a consultation, you are expected to showcase your knowledge and experience.  This builds trust and credibility with customers.  Once that is achieved and high chances is they understand none (or will soon forget) what you have mentioned, you can then use simple illustrations to get your point across.


No. 6. You Become a Master of Documentations

Personal Banker Filling Forms
Personal Banker Filling Forms

Yes, perfect forms filling.  Documents for basic banking services, financial advisory declarations, KYC, regulatory disclosures, terms & conditions, credit & loan documents and more.  Mistakes cause you time. But being overly meticulous cause you time too.

You either spend your time travelling to meet clients to re-sign documents or you spend more time meeting customers and doing financial sales.

6 More … …

  • You are a Friend to 6,000 Customers in 1 Year
  • You Learn to Handle Special Request
  • Unreasonable Request.  In Your Own Backyard
  • You have to Deal with Cancellations, Professionally
  • Mastering the Art of Sales: Objection Handling
  • Crafting a good finanical & banking solution for your client

Read More: How do you Succeed as a Personal Banker? Part 2

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