Opening the door on the inner workings of Kleinwort Benson
In recent years, we have held an event at our offices for young people – school-leavers, graduates and undergraduates - designed to open the doors to our business and give guests an insight into the inner workings of a private bank. Guests at our Day in the life of a private bank included young people recommended by our clients who might be interested in learning about wealth management and the business of running a bank. This year we saw record numbers of young people sign up to a packed programme which consisted of talks and workshops designed specifically with our young audience in mind.
Make your dent
Our chief investment officer, Mouhammed Choukeir, opened the event, welcoming everyone to Kleinwort Benson. His central theme was what it takes to make a “dent” in your chosen industry. He focussed on three main things: passion, discipline and feedback. Passion, he said, is essential because you have to love what you do and have the enthusiasm to stick with it when things get difficult. Discipline is important because you have to practice to improve. Finally, Mouhammed emphasised the importance of receiving, and acting on feedback, which he sees as fundamental to personal development. This was greeted with a number of thoughtful questions from the audience.
The first of our departmental speakers was Paul Bentley from the private banking team. He spoke about what it was like being a private banker with a focus on entrepreneurs and why he thought his job was the best in the bank. We were given a snapshot of some of the more interesting entrepreneurial ideas he has come across in his career – the ones he could mention – and a bit about how he became a private banker.
Graham Austin talked about portfolio management and how he is often the first point of contact for most client relationships, especially during times of uncertainty. This was a great insight into the division of labour on the client-facing side.
The morning session ended with a talk from Fahad Kamal who was one of the most memorable speakers of the day. He spoke about his background, his role as Senior Market Strategist and explained that much of his job involves acting as a guide for investment policy and not necessarily predicting markets. He gave some interesting insights into the current market and its rather unprecedented eight-year bull market, as well as touching on how he puts together his very popular Morning Chat daily market update.
It’s not all economics and number-crunching
The mid-morning session saw talks from our corporate advisory and project management departments. Glenn Baker, a director in our Private Wealth Management team rounded off this session by speaking about the business development initiatives which form his day-to-day role. Coming from an arts background he explained how he has used his writing skills to refine the pitch and proposal documents which are an essential part of how we attract new business through the door. His was one of the first talks that really chimed with the less numerically inclined in the audience, probably prompting the most questions from the floor.
After a quick break we then progressed to the final talks before lunch. These last insights were from the legal and financial risk department and company secretariat. Emma Vernon, Head of Financial Risk, spoke from personal experience and introduced the idea that if you’re torn between law and finance, it is possible to combine the two. Her talk was met with a lot of interest from the aspiring lawyers in the audience and provided another alternative career path for current and future arts students. It didn’t hurt, of course, that her route to Kleinwort Benson took her via the Caribbean and the Far East.
Emily Humphry, company secretary in Guernsey, gave a very insightful talk about working as a part of the company secretariat. This area of the business covers the governance of the business, supporting and advising the boards. Working on this team requires a broad skill set and expert knowledge of corporate law, finance, governance, strategy and corporate secretarial practice. Emily gave a great snapshot of life as the often unsung hero of the boardroom.
After lunch, the day took a less formal turn and I myself took to the floor, joined by Laura-Jane Cartwright from our Human Resources team. We walked the group through what makes a good CV and also flagged up some résumé howlers – to be avoided at all costs. We touched on the value of networking and played a bit of Networking Rummy -a game of our own invention - to illustrate how to get the most out of a business network and make meaningful connections with others in your community. It gave a good opportunity for everyone to get up, talk to each other and become more actively involved, a great way to round off the day.