Curdin Duschletta of UBS explains the aim and value of training and talent development in Asian wealth management, and why banks must take it seriously to capture opportunities and stand out in a competitive market.
Date: May 2010
According to an interview with Curdin Duschletta, learning and development mean much more than just training.
Training is certainly a relevant component of developing talent and aiding learning, he said. However, research shows that 90% of all learning happens in informal settings, with only 10% through formal classroom or web-based training.
Yet when people talk about talent development, Duschletta said there is a tendency to focus on formal training.
He said it is important to therefore look at the other elements of learning. For example, how does information flow within a team? And how do line managers run their team meetings and ensure that new ideas get discussed and captured?
It is also important to make sure employees have a development plan, he said, where there are frank conversations between line managers and staff about an individual’s objectives as well as the firm’s objectives, and about where the common ground is – and then a focus on how the development plan is executed.
As a result, while formal training is a key way to develop individuals, it is not enough on its own.
Instead, Duschletta said institutions need to create a culture where learning takes place every day – in the workplace, and with line managers encouraging and nurturing exchanges of information and development.
Taking training seriously
According to Duschletta, by training and developing their staff, firms mitigate some fundamental risks around fulfilling regulatory requirements, as well as around their bankers’ understanding of the products and solutions they are selling.
It also relates to business opportunities, he added, explaining that training and developing people enables a bank to differentiate itself.
Even though innovation and exaction capacity is crucial, Duschletta said the real way that banks can set themselves apart is through how they build relationships with and advise their clients.
At the same time, by taking seriously the training of their staff, firms are also making a clear statement that they are focused on growing in general, and more specifically with individual employees.
Given that people tend to want to learn and grow, Duschletta said that when institutions enable them to do this, the firm becomes more attractive as a relevant and desirable employer.
This is a key way in which training pays back, he said.
Integrating and “on-boarding” new staff
The challenge when integrating and on-boarding more junior and less experienced staff is how to ensure they will learn everything there is to know about the private banking and wealth management industry.
A lot of this comes from learning by doing, said Duschletta. So it is difficult to learn how to advise clients without on-the-job coaching by line managers, for example by going on joint client calls and providing regular feedback.
Achieving all this initially requires delivery in the classroom of sufficient technical knowledge, and role-plays and feedback – but then ensuring that it really works in practice and that there is the right level of focus and support by line managers.
When on-boarding more experienced staff, Duschletta said a key challenge in any industry is to start with a process of “un-learning”.
For example, he explained, UBS has a distinct approach in how it advises its clients, as it wants to start with understanding their needs and objectives, and then defining and finding the right solutions.
On-boarding people into this philosophy might, therefore, require some un-learning – for example if someone has been used to more product-oriented sales cultures.
Why junior advisers should embrace training
According to Duschletta, if individuals are good at advising people and building relationships, but lack product knowledge, they will not succeed in wealth management.
Likewise, he added, people who are technically competent but cannot explain products to a client will also not succeed in the industry.
Duschletta said it is also critical for individuals to adhere to the various rules and standards – both regulatory as well as ethical.
Junior advisers need to therefore balance all these aspects, advised Duschletta, by looking firstly at their strengths and reinforcing those, and then identifying the gaps and trying to close these as quickly as possible.
The most challenging part of wealth management to get right is the advisory and client piece of the process, he said, as this is more of a mindset issue than a skills one.
It is all about helping clients achieve their objectives, added Duschletta, and training alone cannot achieve everything that is necessary to be successful.