In our 60 second interview series, Citywealth speaks to Annabel Bosman, head of relationship management for Julius Baer International about the changing face of clients and the importance of patience.
Tell me about your role.
I am the Head of Relationship Management for Julius Baer International, which means I am responsible for one of our London-based relationship management teams. My focus is on ensuring that my team is in a position to properly look after our clients. This means clearing roadblocks and acting as a mentor, ambassador and cheerleader. I also act as an additional point of contact for our clients, which is the part of the role I enjoy the most as we’re fortunate to meet such fascinating people in our line of work.
How has the private client industry changed?
Having worked in the industry for over 20 years, we have come a long way since my early days at Barclays in 1997. Undoubtedly the changing face of the regulator has had a huge part to play, creating a tighter framework and higher expectations for wealth managers. But the face of the client has also changed and wealth creation now takes place in a myriad of different ways, agnostic of gender, race and age which is really exciting. Both of these have, in my view, led to a change in our relationship managers who are undoubtedly more qualified, take a more holistic approach and also come from diverse backgrounds.
What lessons have you learnt?
Patience is most certainly a virtue. I am also far more organised than I used to be, there is no such thing as a typical day and managing my diary is harder than ever. I have also learned that listening is far more important than talking, both with clients but also in leadership.
Tell us about interesting client instructions.
There have been a few, however the one that sticks out in my mind concerns a gentleman who had recently sold his business, then having celebrated his 60th birthday very sadly passed away. In our conversations with his widow, she told us that she was keen to purchase a Lowry given the sentimental value tied to the artist, they had both come from that area and had always loved Lowry’s work, therefore she felt that this would serve as a memorial of sorts. With no idea where to start, what to pay, who to ask etc. she asked if we might be able to help. I got straight on the phone to Malletts, then at 141 New Bond Street, and asked for them to provide a person to accompany my client to a suitable auction across the road to advise on pricing, auction tactics and the whole deposit/registration/collection procedures. But most importantly, to instruct her on when to stop bidding. I’m pleased to say it all worked out and she became the proud owner of a Lowry.
What challenges do your clients face?
Clients face a whole range of challenges ranging from worrying about wealth preservation, to how to pass their hard-earned assets down to the next generation in the most effective and responsible fashion. Our role is to alleviate some of these worries and allow them to get on with their lives.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role?
The most rewarding part of my role is receiving positive feedback from clients that highlights the impact their team at Julius Baer has made. I also enjoy being able to help my own team overcome some of their own challenges, whether personal or career related.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Someone once said to me “don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm”. As a manager of a reasonably large team, I’m often guilty of trying to solve everyone’s problems, so this has become something of a mantra both inside and outside of work.
What was the last book you’ve read?
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama. A fascinating story of the continuing journey of one of my own personal icons.
Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?
Aside from regular trips to Zurich, I last travelled to Vancouver in October to meet up with now far-flung school friends.
How do you relax after a long day?
I tend to unwind with lots of yoga or paddle boarding – once I manage to get my children off the floor.