Retail Financial Services

Retail Financial Services & Insurance


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Customer values have been placed at the heart of retail banks corporate strategy. The negative publicity that has surrounded a series of scandals has forced banks to refocus on their employee and customer brand. Barclays was just one of the big banks that led the way in announcing that their incentives would change and that they would become a caring bank with a customer-focus. This emphasis on the consumer has therefore required banks to change their strategies and created the need for senior talent with different experiences.

Individuals with consumer experience are now the key to driving these retail banks forward in the increasingly competitive market, a market that has seen a rise in the number of challenger banks in recent years. Retailers such as Tesco Bank and M&S, as well as Metro Bank, Virgin Money and even TSB, in addition to the range of neobanks and non-traditional players have all surfaced. These so called challengers to the big four also have the advantage of not being tainted by the financial crisis, the Libor scandal or any miss-selling accusations and are ‘clean’ banks with a new appeal. Because of this, the big banks are forced to adopt every consumer tactic that they can to ensure they don’t lose the high street to these more appealing brands. Legislation has made it easier for customers to switch accounts and so the bureaucracy trap that kept customers in their existing banks no longer exists – customers can move quickly and easily.

In order for banks of all sizes to win the consumer they must embrace another change that has been monumental over the years: Technology. The advancements in Mobile, Near-Field Communication, Big Data and cyber threats have all had an effect on customers’ banking decisions. People want to be able to access their money any place and at any time, but want to know that they money is secure. They want to pay for things as quickly and as easily as possible – hence the introduction of such advancements as contactless and mobile payment methods. Talent in this space is hard to find and commands a premium, creativity is a must for hiring managers seeking to bring on board people who can deliver the consumer experience.

Furthermore, banks are harnessing the tactics of successful e-retailers such as Amazon to upsell their products using the powers of Big Data. The vast quantities of data are also helping to break-down silos within banks – product offerings are more entwined than ever. Banking is more focused on becoming part of a mobile life accessible on demand, than it is about access to money.

This move towards satisfying the new customer who is digitally astute, social and yearning for insight has also led to an optimisation of bank branches – their presence in the high street is a lot more streamlined and in the main there to deal with life changing decisions like pensions, mortgages and annuities; products that need the advisory element. Almost everything else is transactional, and in retail that’s about cutting costs and satisfying the online demands of consumers.

However, this strategy needs to be driven from the top and in order for an organisation to adapt to customers and adopt technology they need the right talent. Organisations are now panning for gold as they look for those select few that have not only got the consumer or technological understanding needed in the modern-day market, but also the right Financial Services experience to pass the SIF (Significant Influence Functions) interviews that have been put in place by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

Retail Financial Services industry consultant listings


Paul Steggall - Universal Banking, Insurance

Egon Zehnder

Jonathan Skan - Insurance

Hanover Search Group

James Ridd - Insurance, Life & Pensions

Korn Ferry

Tom Hicks - Insurance, Retail Financial Services

Andrew Simpson - Consumer Banking, Insurance

MWM Consulting

Richard Phillips - Retail Financial Services

Mark Woodhouse - Retail Financial Services

The Miles Partnership

Ian Lazarus - Life & General Insurance, Retail Banking, Consumer Finance

Norman Broadbent

Conrad Hills - Retail Banking, General Insurance, Life & Pensions

Odgers Berndtson

Jeff Morris - Retail Financial Services, Insurance

Per Ardua Associates

Simon Hearn -Insurance, Consumer Financial Services

Deborah Howard - Insurance

Jamie Risso-Gill - Consumer Financial Services

Russel Reynolds Associates

Simon Black - Consumer Financial Services, Insurance

Siobhan Caragher - Insurance

Spencer Stuart & Associates

Hilary Attenborough - Insurance

David Juster - Insurance