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Are You Cut Out to Be a Relationship Manager?

Relationship managers are vital components in business, financial services and banking. They keep clients happy, advise them on products and potential investment opportunities, and work to bring in new business. Curious to know if you’re cut out for the job?

Have you got what it takes to be a relationship manager?

Let’s see how you match up with these key skills and competencies…

How’s your commercial awareness?

As with all careers in the financial services, the crux of your skill set needs to be commercial awareness. Yes, we do harp on about it, but that’s because it’s true! It’s impossible for a relationship manager to successfully advise and support clients if they haven’t got the foggiest about what’s going on with the financial markets and in industries most relevant to them.

So, know the markets! Some relationship managers in corporate/private banking may well carry out their own research into potential investment and money-saving opportunities for their clients too, so the ability to research thoroughly and understand statistics can be key as well.

Can you keep a secret?

As a relationship manager, you’ll deal with private and confidential information on a daily basis. You’re working at the discretion of at times very wealthy and prominent people, and they trust you to keep their details and activities private! You’ll be expected to keep your client list quiet outside of the office too. So if you struggle to keep schtum, relationship management ain’t for you!

Outgoing and gregarious?

Networking is an integral part of the job in order to win new business, and keep current clients happy with the service you are providing them. As the title suggests, being a relationship manager is primarily about building and maintaining a strong relationship between a client and the bank, asset management firm or fund you work for, so a natural ability to build rapport and be likeable and useful to clients is essential! If you’re confident meeting new people on a daily basis then relationship management could be for you.

Good at keeping people happy?

Are you prepared to put in the ‘extra mile’, so to speak, for every client you work with? A friendly, professional manner and creativity and efficiency in solving problems are vital competencies in this business.

Like an elephant, a good relationship manager never forgets, either! A great memory is a real asset as a relationship manager: remembering the little details about a client which will enable you to offer the best bespoke service possible is what it’s all about. What’s more, referring to a little personal detail or two in conversation where appropriate could be the difference in maintaining a good relationship and even winning over new business. You’re dealing with real people here, and they need to feel valued in that way!


Alas, there will inevitably be some tricky clients in this business. Different people want different things from their relationship manager, so the ability to adapt to all kind of personalities, from the friendly and interested sorts to the no-nonsense, demanding and abrupt characters, is very important. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of dealing with demanding clients having a bad day at times, then it might be wise to look into some other roles in the finance industry – of which there are plenty! Check out the Industry Breakdown section for starters!

Confident in making difficult decisions?

The client often looks to you for guidance, so you need to install them with the reassurance that you know what you’re talking about. No dithering about on advice! If you’re not afraid of big decisions and making the right call on behalf of someone else, then you could well be relationship manager material.

Are you a team player?

You may be the only one who deals with the client personally, however if you’re working within an investment bank or asset management firm in particular then you’re going to be relying on your colleagues, such as risk managers and research analysts, to provide you with the information you need to best support a client. Effective communication and strong team work is vital in all courts for success, so this is certainly another string you’ll need in your bow if you want to be a relationship manager.

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