Where are you? Where do you want to go? What are your priorities?  In a fund industry undergoing transition and change, answering these questions involves collaborative relationships and a strong level of trust.

Didier Kayl
Head, Business & Relationship Development, Client Service Management 

Fundamental and long-term changes are underway in the European investment fund industry. Removing long-standing inefficiencies and improving transparency, from fund producer to fund buyer, is now the major task. The steps being implemented, together with the power of new technologies, will reinvent the existing ecosystem.

In this period of change, building and maintaining trust amongst upstream and downstream clients is essential if the industry is to remain successful. After all, academic studies have shown that trust is the primary driver for both extending existing business and generating new business.

Get real-life feedback on values

Above all, companies can achieve this in the most powerful way by defining a clear set of values. Ensure then that these values are enforced consistently and, most importantly, ask your clients to evaluate how you live those values when you service your clients.

In short, ask "Are you receiving what you expect us to deliver?"

As an example, we at Fundsquare ask for this evaluation during our service level reviews. These values cover six main areas: quality, integrity, transparency, innovation, mutualisation and effectiveness. (How we define each of these values can be read in full detail here.)

The strategies of both Fundsquare and our clients are shared in order to best align their respective objectives. A service level review is carried out at least once a year upon Fundsquare's request and assesses the situation in regards to key performance and quality indicators of our relationship. It also delves deeply into client satisfaction.

Act to fulfil values

"What can we both do to improve?" is the opening question to actively seek honest feedback from our client.

By clearly confirming our willingness to find joint solutions with our clients, we aim to continuously extend our level of trust.

The service level review looks at practicalities but, on a higher level, it has been designed specifically to foster trust and a trusting relationship that can help coordinate the objectives of our company and our clients.

Broadly speaking, this approach is a combination of clearly defined company values with a review that actively tests and measures the practice of these values in real life.

It has proved to be an extremely useful method for improving client satisfaction.

 Now more than ever, when the European fund industry is making significant operational and front office changes, the ability to build on high-level client satisfaction and trustful relationships is key to collaboratively creating a new ecosystem.

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