Client facing roles in accountancy, finance and banking are the ones on the front line. The jobs involve direct interaction with clients on a daily basis. It will require charm, charisma, rationalism, quick thinking, confidence…and at times a pretty tough skin!
The types of clients you may come face-to-face with will vary quite a bit depending on the industry you’re working in.
Client facing responsibilities…
Of course, these can chop and change with the kinds of role you have and there will be varying degrees of the following elements depending on the area you are working in and how far up the ladder you are:
- Networking – This can include attending official networking events and arranging and attending social events out of work hours to get to know clients and competitors better and perhaps even meet up with potential new clients to win them over. Networking features as a part of pretty much all client facing jobs.
- Dealing with complaints.
- Winning new business.
- Maintaining relationships with clients.
- Advisory services.
- Presenting research through reports prepared by analysts.
- Lots of meetings and correspondence with business managers, fund managers, trustees (people who manage funds on behalf of others).
Relevant areas of finance:
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Salespeople & Stockbrokers
In investment banking, these guys have to play the middleman between clients looking to invest in various asset classes and the traders with the aim of selling at the best price. Tact is of the essence! There’s plenty of time on the phone involved as salespeople and brokers source potential buyers or answer queries from existing clients and negotiate prices for assets between them and the bank’s traders (if it’s in-house for investment banking) or product or service providers.
It’s a similar sort of story with insurance brokers. They are concerned with getting the best insurance deals for their clients (with whom most correspondence is via telephone) and to make a sale of that deal to benefit from the commission.
A whole gang of business and finance professionals fall under the advisory umbrella, including consultants of various specialisms, financial planners, financial advisers, independent financial advisers (IFAs), asset managers, fund managers, tax advisers, accountants, fiduciaries and wealth managers.
These guys perform client facing tasks on a daily basis, most often working with businesses (of all sizes) and/or high net worth individuals (millionaires and billionaires). They all have to be able to take on board their clients’ financial needs and find out what their short-term and long-term financial goals are in order to provide them with the appropriate advice. This takes face-to-face meetings, phone calls and email correspondence. Over time they become experts in building rapport with their client network.
Whether it’s in a branch dealing face-to-face with the general public or SME representatives, or over the phone in a call centre, there is plenty of variety in client facing roles in retail banking too. If you like meeting new characters every day and helping people to resolve problems then customer services roles in this field could be well worth a look.