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Another presentation that surprised me in Oslo came from Tor Jacobsen, CEO of TSM Nordic.
It surprised me as I had no idea about TSM, a mobile wallet provider owned by Telenor and DNB – Norway’s biggest mobile network operator (MNO) and biggest bank – and will launch in the Norwegian market later this year under the brand name ValYou.
This video provides a brief overview of how it’s being promoted:
There is a sound file recording which gives you the presentation speech to go with the slides btw but, be warned, it's very poor quality with some significant interference from a nearby mobile telephone (bleedin' malware everywhere!).
That’s what my colleague said yesterday, when I said that my
new presentation has three themes:
Mobile is irrelevant;
Money is meaningless; and
Capitalism is dead.
I wondered what she meant by polemic, so checked out the definitions online and Wikipedia
defines it quite well: a polemic is “a
contentious argument that is
intended to establish the truth of a specific belief and the falsity of the
contrary belief. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about very controversial
I also found another definition I prefer from Merriam-Webster
which is that a polemic is “an aggressive controversialist”.
The ACT used the title of this presentation as a question in the interactive voting at the start of the day, and the results were interesting: 7% of treasurers thought their relationship was brilliant (or was that the vote of JPMorgan, the conference sponsor?); 24% thought the relationship was broken, whilst the majority, 69%, felt it was purely ‘surviving’.
This tallies with the survey we performed last autumn, which asked the question: since the financial crisis began in 2008, how have relationships with corporate users changed?
In that survey, the majority of respondents (46%) say that it’s about the same but over a third (35%) say that it is worse, with 27% of bankers and 38% of non-bankers stating that this is the case (btw, we are repeating this survey in 2012, sponsorship opportunities now open).
And I opened my speech with the same question. In this case 15% felt it was better; 50% thought it was about the same; whilst 35% thought it was worse.
A quarter of our folks think the relationship is broken, whilst over a third think it’s getting worse.
Not a picture of roses and jelly babies in the garden.
So my theme was about the past, present and future issues in the corporate treasurer’s world and the role of their bank provider.
In particular, corporates are looking for bank providers who understand their issues, concerns and specifically their business environment, operations and challenges, and the best bank providers understand these areas as well as the treasurer understands them.
A truly great corporate to bank relationship is one where the bank partner is seen as a trusted advisor, giving best advice and behaving as a real partner, not just a transaction processor.
The ‘trusted advisor’ is a status achieved by few, but aspired to by many, and is all about the ability to earn the client's trust and thereby win the ability to influence them.
Many banks want to be a trusted advisor to their corporate client and, if they achieve that, then the relationship is based in the boardroom and is based completely upon trust in the bank provider’s advice.
In order to get that sort of relationship, the bank must really get under the skin of and in the head of the client.
They must see the world through the client’s eyes and understand their needs as well as the client understands them.
They must advise them with the right things, not the things that are purely in the interests of the bank.
They must look at the long-term relationship, not the short-term sale.
It all makes sense if you want to be a true relationship provider of trust, and banks aspire for this level of trust with their corporates?
Interestingly, we may accept a poor bank relationship in a consumer context, but in a corporate context surely banks behave more responsibly?
Well, maybe not.
After all, I concluded my speech with another interactive question.
A simple one, but a real test of whether there are trusted advisors out there or just transaction processors.
The question was this: do you believe that your bank provider cares more about your business first, rather than theirs?
A trusted provider would rather do right by you, than by themselves.
So I was a little bit started to see the answer was only 12% of the audience voting yes, whilst 88% voted no.
Only 1 in 10 corporates have a trusted provider of finance.
That’s a stark disparity and, over lunch, I asked what was going on.
The answer came back that only large corporates get their banks to behave responsibly, due to the size of their budgets, and even they struggle to get their banks to do the right thing.
So there is a big opportunity here: for the banks that get ‘trusted advisor’, they can fill the gaps of the 90% of their competitors who do not.
If I were a bank CEO, I’d be interested in taking up that opportunity.
FYI, these themes are regularly being explored on the blog. If interested, here's a few more related posts:
How can you really get inside the customer’s head?
What keeps the CEO awake at night (literally in the case of Lloyds Banking Group)?
And all those other strategic account questions which, if you could answer, would give you a real inside track lift to become more of a trusted advisor rather than product pusher.
This is a question I’ve dealt with for a long time and is why I do what I do.
I’ve also answered this question, thanks to reading management practitioner’s books and theories for years and implementing these ideas in reality.
Starting with In Search of Excellenceand through Reengineering the Corporationto theDisciplines of Market Leaders, the Innovator’s Dilemma, Blue Ocean Strategyand The Experience Economy,I’ve pretty much seen ‘em all and done ‘em all.
Now we talk about customer-centricity, engagement banking and Bank 2.0.
I’m not saying these things aren’t useful – it’s always good to have some assistance in thinking clearly about change and how to change – but most of the management fads all boil down to the same thing: basic common sense thinking.
Y’know, Management By Walking About was one of the fads of its time.
Surely, managers should walk around their business and see what’s going on?
Process Improvement has been a big focal point.
What do you want? Processes to stink and get worse?
It’s all common sense.
So here’s my common sense way to get inside the head of your C-level client contact.
First, use future thinking to see what pressures are out there to challenge them.
I use forces of change for this based upon the simple acronym: PEST.
PEST represents the Political, Economic, Social and Technological changes over the next 3-5 year horizon that may seriously impact the client’s business, as outlined yesterday.
In banking, you can put these together into a generic (non-exhaustive) shortlist as follows:
POLITICAL FORCES FOR CHANGE IN BANKING
East-West China divide
US elections (2012)
UK elections (2014)
ECONOMIC FORCES FOR CHANGE IN BANKING
Sovereign debt issues
Remnimbi vs Dollar
CIVETS / Growth8
China inflation bubble
China 2018 or 2047
SOCIAL FORCES FOR CHANGE IN BANKING
Occupy Wall Street etc
Global connectivity 1:1
TECHNOLOGICAL FORCES FOR CHANGE IN BANKING
Chips in everything
Once you have this picture, it’s quite clear to see the landscape of challenges for the CEO of most banks, and how they must change:
SUMMARY CHANGES IN BANKING
Boring banking vs casino capitalism
Hybrid value management
Global currencies (Bitcoin)
Leading to some form of vision in banking, vis-à-vis my prior blog entries about APIs and apps:
VISION FOR FUTURE BANKING
Bank products are apps, manufactured in such a way that customers can put them together to suit their lifestyle.
Bank processing is open sourced, offered to anyone to plug and play with their offerings through APIs.
Bank retailing is based upon competitive differentiation through big data analysis to deliver contextual personalisation.
This pretty well summarises the basics of how I work with some banks on strategy, and some technology firms on strategic account planning:
The trick then, and the harder question for the bank or the strategic sales director, is to pin down how all of this translates to their organisation’s strategy.
What will this bank need to change, and which solutions will guarantee to deliver this change for them on time and at the lowest risk?
I would share more, but this is the stuff that is the basics of creating bank strategies and strategic solutions sales … probably something that will become a basic training process over time.
As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I took place in an interesting webinar recently with James Gardner, author of "Innovation and the Future Proof Bank"; Gijsbert Koren, author of "Crowdfunding - The New Investing"; and Rhydian Lewis, CEO of RateSetter.
The focus was around innovation and P2P financial markets, and the webinar has now been posted online for all to see.
It's in three parts.
The first part has me, James and Gijsbert talk about our books:
The second part looks at innovation in finance in general:
And the final part reviews the trends in P2P lending and funding:
MAG-net is the networking group in the City for the Mines Advisory Group, MAG, a charity supported by the Financial Services Club and others that clears areas of mines so that schools, villages and life can continue as it should in post-war territories.
They invited me to speak about anything I wanted, and so I created a new presentation about the similarities between banks and landmines (see UBS today).
The presentation developed around the idea of banks being mines that explode in economic terms, in a similar way in which landmines explode and blow away people and animals in the real world.
My premise was that just as landmines blow the legs away from humans, banks blow the legs off economies.
It’s obviously the case that this is true today, what with the Lehmans collapse with Credit Default Swaps creating the first financial crisis; and now sovereign debt in the Eurozone is developing the second.
How can such economic landmines exist in a world where we should have cleared them by now?
They exist because we allow innovation in financial instruments in an unregulated form.
That innovation is all around derivatives of derivatives.
Untried and untested weapons of financial destruction are being created every day and planted as hidden potentially unexploded bombs across the financial system.
This has been well documented in many books, with F.I.A.S.C.O. cited by many as a great illustration of the issues in a storybook form or, if you prefer the academic version, Infectious Greed, gives you the lowdown.
These two books by Frank Partnoy document the issues of derivatives, which are both good and bad.
They are good in creating leveraged risk which allows commerce to become more capable. They are good in hedging risk, allowing trades to take place that otherwise could not. They are good in bringing together mixed asset classes, so that previously unrelated goods and services can now be traded together. They are good in offsetting future uncertainty, which is why they are used.
They are bad because they are so complex, most traders don’t understand them. They are bad because they are called ‘exotics’, and are so exotic that they can explode. They are bad because they allow firms, such as Goldman Sachs, to create a massively web of interlinkage between risk that ensures those in their world can have huge exposures whilst Goldmans themselves avoid such loss. They are bad because they allow debt to be leveraged so greatly that it becomes unmanageable.
All of the latter are the landmines of economies, and are no better demonstrated than by Lehmans collapse and Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.
I illustrated these two points with two charts.
The first is from June 2008, and shows the notional exposure of Goldman Sachs’ main counterparties just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers (doubleclick image for larger version):
Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive! Sir Walter Scott
Now don’t think I’m Goldman bashing because, as I said last night, they are the most effective bulge bracket player in the world’s markets in creating risk and therefore alpha returns. That’s why their clients use them. However, they are also the most effective institutions in the world’s markets in creating risks that can explode in the face of their clients. That’s why they sell ‘crap’ to their customers (by their own admittance) and are happy to do it.
The second chart I used to illustrate the landmines that firms such as Goldman Sachs lay in the world’s economies is the European sovereign debt crisis and a data visualisation of which countries are most exposed to whom:
Again, derivatives were used to package sovereign debt in the same way as mortgage debt, and has created this second loss of confidence in the European economies.
The whole presentation can be seen here (needs the words to make sense probably) ...
... and the only positive note is that we can save human limbs by clearing landmines using mice to sniff the mines out.
Let’s get some more mice in the financial markets.
In researching the presentation, I found large numbers of images of people with limbs missing. Some were graphic, some were funny, some were moving and many were tragic. Give MAG five minutes of your time http://www.maginternational.org/ to consider supporting them. And any MAG-net member gets a 20% discount if they join the Financial Services Club so it’s worth supporting them for that reason alone surely?
After my post last week about my latest presentation with an audio file, my keynote in Bahrain this week was going to be a variation of the presentation. Due to being unable to fly to Bahrain, I mentioned on Monday that most of the day had been spent editing a video file for the conference to be able to present my keynote.
This 'aired' for the first time this morning and so here is the video version for the blog:
Bearing in mind that this was made with a cheap ($200) HD video camera, free video editing and slide management software and cheap ($59 per year) hosting services, it's an extraordinary way for anyone to create and become their own media channel in the 21st century.
Mind you, they could improve the looks of the anchor hosts a bit, couldn't they?