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Financial Services without Borders--How to Succeed in Professional Financial Services

Professional financial services markets around the world have experienced a remarkable transformation during the past three decades. With this transformation, it’s more important than ever to understand past changes and anticipate future ones. Financial Services without Borders offers a comprehensive look at these dynamics and identifies effective, responsive strategies.


From Outsider to Trusted Adviser

    Investment bankers, particularly the superior ones, are always looking for ways to create and make bold use of an “unfair competitive advantage.” They do this by getting close enough to the decision makers in a company to earn the position of trusted adviser. They are then more likely to receive or anticipate timely confidential information about the company, which in turn enables them to develop ideas that are specific to the client’s objectives. Over time, this ratchets the relationship to increasingly higher levels until eventually the bank becomes that company’s leading investment bank.

    This presents a bit of a “chicken and egg” problem, because it is difficult to present creative and innovative ideas without having superior knowledge of the company and its business. That is why you need to focus on those companies where there is reasonable opportunity to become the lead investment bank, then work to strengthen those relationships with frequent, focused meetings. This is where time spent with a top-rated analyst can pay off, as incremental knowledge can help elevate these meetings from mere sales calls to more of a forum for the exchange of substantive ideas. Even one small assignment can have a big payoff. If handled flawlessly, by people in the bank more than qualified to do so, small transactions can become stepping stones to larger ones when the firm demonstrates even more skill than the company anticipated.

    Here are some additional recommendations for generating an unfair competitive advantage:

*Set your firm apart with the best and the brightest . . .

*Make the firm a “greenhouse for excellence” . . .

*Provide extraordinary service . . .

*Take a long-term view of the relationship . .  .

*Work for free . . .