Avida Blog

Is there a conflict between business growth aspirations and what is in the client's best interest?


I know of few entrepreneurs whose ambition is it to preside over a declining or even stagnant
business. Having conceived an idea and then incubated it into existence, there can be few more
rewarding experiences for a business founder than to observe incremental clients buy into their
product or service offering.

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Is there a role for data in the client retention process?


Everyone talks about the power of Big Data. We are told these huge volumes of continuously
generated data, if appropriately analysed, have the potential to help address business problems that
it was not possible to tackle previously. Unsurprisingly such a possibility is exciting a lot of business
executives.

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Growing your business organically and successfully requires a deeper understanding of your organisation


I’m a great believer in the importance of organisational culture. Like everything in life that is truly
great, the notion that culture is important can frustrate us because we cannot touch or measure it.
But it is there and arguably it holds the key to an organisation's success because all stakeholders find
themselves identifying with it.

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What does customer satisfaction in the financial services industry look like?


During the Christmas break, I treated my ever-expanding family to a few days at a truly top-notch
hotel location in Scotland. (If you have never spent a Christmas in Scotland you do not know what
you are missing!) It was there that I experienced two examples of exceptional customer service.

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It’s the time of year when many financial sector institutions set out predictions for the year ahead


We’ve decided to have a go. Our selection contains at least a few you may be less likely to see
elsewhere.

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Can only financial market professionals design a crisis management plan for finance businesses?


I have experienced numerous crises in the global environment during my career. These
have included LTCM, the bursting of the dotcom bubble and of course the global financial
crisis. But the one I recall most vividly was Black Monday, not because I was caught in the
middle of the event, but because having been verbally offered my first financial industry role
a month earlier I realised my career might be over before it had even begun!

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If we could choose our business growth model which route would we go down - to develop organically or by acquisition?


Businesses are established in response to a perceived client need. Growth occurs
initially when more clients also identify with this need, or a similar one that can be met
with the same product or capability. Organisations either respond to this rising demand
as it emerges or anticipate it putting resources in place pre-emptively. This all sounds
very organic, suggesting this should be the normal path of the business growth model.

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How can my organisation make a useful contribution to clients, disappointed when invested in markets that underperform?


One of the most positive developments in institutional investing over the past two
decades has been the focus on risk budgeting. This trend has resulted in, amongst other
things, an increasingly forensic focus on mandate requirements to ensure, for example,
minimum or zero overlap between different client portfolios. This has had the advantage
of bringing ever greater clarity to both the client expected outcome and understanding of
the instruction to the service supplier.

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Do our customers assume that as financial professionals we know precisely how to respond to a crisis?


What do our customers expect from us? We can recite a list of attributes that could apply both to us
as individuals and to our organisations; integrity, astuteness, professionalism and maybe even
intelligence! But it is undoubtedly true to say that first and foremost clients expect we will do what
we said we would do – to deliver on the terms of a mandate, the contract between us.

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Can we apply lessons learned from other industries to financial markets and economic growth considerations?


Sometimes its hard to get your head around how far we’ve travelled. Our people occupy bright, air-conditioned offices (for the most part), sit at carefully designed workstations (desks in my day) and
are surrounded by constantly updatable technology. In fact, such is the power of mobile
communication it can be argued that much of today's commuting is unnecessary as home office
working is very achievable. The IT sector has given us a lot.

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