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they can preserve or transfer wealth to the next generation ormake it work for themselves,” she says. Her bankers have been instructed


to focus on building personal relationships and to share the psychology of their clients.“We need to try to understand our clients, what is driving them andwhat is important to them in life as that very much determineshowtheywould like tomanage their wealth,” saysMs van derHooft-Cheong.


CLOSERTOCLIENTS The “sparring partner” dynamic helps her relationship managers get closer to their client base, she believes. “Fromthat perspective it’s easier to think in the same mindset as the client and add value and bring advisory investment opportunities to them,” she says. “We have a client group which


is quite intelligent and already has a good network, with access to information and specialists, so we are asking ourselves: ‘What added value can we bring to them?’ We need to work very hard every day to bring opportunities and a newperspective to their table. The ‘trainer’ or ‘coach’ model is one that we hope can develop long- lasting relationships with clients for generations to come.”


FEMALEFOCUS


Among the priorities identified for ABN Amro’s top client tier during the Covid pandemic is a newfocus on the needs of wealthy female clients, with sustainability and impact investing also at the forefront. “Our female clients have had a


much firmer, more strident voice in the conversation over the last year,” saysMarianne Verhaar, head of private wealth management at ABN Amro MeesPierson, responsible for clients with more than $25m in free investable assets or €100m of total wealth. The bank has made it a “business


priority” to scale up for and better serve female clients, many of whom have driven recent conversations with couples and families, covering issues not previously addressed. “When the women are around the


table, they tend to bring up points which were always classed as ‘softer’ items, but which are in reality the most difficult topics,” says Ms Verhaar. These include discussing individual responsibilities and specifics of intergenerational transfers. The bank’s management has


realised female clients can spark a richer dialogue, as they look at wealth froma broader perspective than just investments and returns. “You often see that with very wealthy families, money is the great divider,while


talking about philanthropy is the glue, which brings about better, more productive conversations between family members. This is something most typically addressed by women,” she ventures. Health is another subject women


are much more willing than men to discuss. “The combination of health, wealth and passing it onto the next generation is brought up much more effortlessly by women within our client base than by men.” Covid has also left thewealthiest


segment with time for more regular contact with bankers and deeper introspection. Whilemanywant to talk about investing in art or private equity, there is a parallel, more important underlying philosophical discussion to be had, around the notion of becoming an “active entrepreneur”, considering the future direction of the family as well as its business interests. “Covid has made people realise


they are not always in control, or able to buy things or take care of things. Itmakes us moreaware thatwe are all vulnerable people,” saysMs Verhaar,who has witnessed family discussionsmovingway beyondwealth creation and preservation. “People have an increasedawareness of the importance of impact investing. It has inspired people to discuss, as a family, inwhatwaywealth also imposes responsibility.” This newset of parameters is


Our female clients have had amuch firmer, more strident voice in the


had


conversation over the last year


MARIANNEVERHAARABNAMROMEESPIERSON


increasingly framing key discussions. Client assets invested sustainably by ABN Amro increased by €6bn to €26bn ($31bn) in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the bank also launched its Impact Equity Fund, allowing clients to invest in firms with a social and environmental focus. “The question is no longer just about


the company and investments, but about the impact youwant tomake and theworld youwant to leave behind,” she says. “The goals of earningmoney and serving society are nowmoving closer and closer to each other.”


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