Proven Methods to Become a Trusted Advisor to Private Banking Clients


Singapore has seen a significant increase in its high net worth individual (HNWI) segment in recent years. This growth has been driven by Singapore’s strengths such as a strong track record as an investment and talent hub, a stable political system, strong rule of law, advanced infrastructure and depth of expertise in professional services. As a result, the private banking services industry catering to the HNWI segment has seen a rise in demand, and by extension, a growth in career opportunities in the arena.

For a thriving career in private banking, developing enduring relationships with clients is paramount. HNWIs who utilise private banking seek quality, individualised service and specially crafted financial solutions. Keeping these customers satisfied can result in returning customers, increased client loyalty, and word-of-mouth recommendations.


To uncover proven methods to build long-term relationships with private banking clients, we sat down with a respected leader in the wealth management and financial industry, Henk De Glint, the Managing Director and Senior Advisor for Singapore and Southeast Asia at JP Morgan Private Bank.


Building Trust with clients through the 4 Cs

Building enduring relationships with private banking clients requires trust. HNWIs have high standards for the financial services they receive. They want to work with individuals whom they can trust to manage their wealth and support them in approaching their financial goals. In order to build and uphold a high level of trust with their clients, private bankers must put forth considerable effort. This will ultimately help the banker to become a lifelong adviser and the main banker to the client.

This will ultimately help the banker to become a lifelong adviser and the main banker to the client. “Creating trust boils down to four C’s,” Henk advised. “You have to be caring, credible, competent, and last but not least, you have to be committed to your job and to the clients.”

“To achieve the 4C’s, you have to be genuinely interested in people, to show that you care, always be honest, authentic and sincere to stay credible, possess the appropriate skillsets and knowledge and embrace continuous learning to be competent and deliver on your promises to show that you are committed to getting your job done.”

What do you need to be good at to be a successful private banker?

Building strong and meaningful relationships with private banking clients requires a variety of skills and competencies.


Henk says, “Private bankers must have the ability to forge relationships with their clients in addition to their technical expertise. It’s a combination of hard and soft skills and sharpening both your IQ as well as EQ. These are all elements and topics which we address in the training programs at WMI. In the relationship management module, we specifically address client management skills, like how to manage a book of customers as well as using effective communication in your dealings with clients and advancing your meeting and networking skills, including crafting a personal value proposition. We also look at how to manage difficult conversations and we practice in-depth client portfolio reviews.”


Understand your clients’ needs at a deeper level

“In order to be able to meaningfully engage with clients, we have built the relationship management module around a framework which we call the Client Advisory Process”, Henk shares. “This is a consultative approach to address and manage all the wealth needs of HNWI’s, from their investment and family needs to their business concerns and passions. It will help the banker to build long-lasting and deeper relationships with their clients.”


It starts with getting to know your client, and building a dialogue through which you start to understand what is important to them. It is a journey to discover their needs, hopes, plans, expectations, goals and objectives as well as their expected returns, risk appetite and time horizon when it comes to their financial planning. This boils down to asking the right questions, using active listening skills and collecting input from the client.



Henk emphasized the necessity of private bankers avoiding self-serving behaviour and putting their clients’ needs ahead of their own. This is essential for developing long-term relationships with private banking clients, as clients are more likely to remain loyal and continue to do business with an advisor that they trust and believe has their best interests at heart.


Know your stakeholders

Understanding your stakeholders is an important aspect of building long-term relationships with private banking clients.


In the context of private banking, Henk explains that there are four important stakeholders to consider. “First and foremost is your client; you are a key person in preserving, managing and growing their wealth. Secondly, for the bank or the organisation you work for, you need to do business and grow the business. Thirdly, the regulator, as a private banker you are accountable and responsible for how you conduct your business and manage the client relationship. You need to work within the context of the private banking code of conduct and the rules and regulations. And last but not least, yourself and your ability to balance your family & friends, your network and your KPIs.

In my opinion, balance is the most important factor for someone who wants to get into this business and be a successful private banker. It is not only about the client, the bank, the regulator or yourself but it is a multitude of factors, which you need to consider in order to drive your business in a sustainable way for the long-term.” explains Henk.

Private bankers can offer a more comprehensive and integrated financial solution that takes into account the needs of all parties by having a thorough understanding of the stakeholders. Potential conflicts can be avoided, financial affairs can run smoothly, and a positive long-term relationship with all stakeholders can be fostered.


Learn to approach difficult conversations with clients during uncertain times

Economic and market uncertainty can lead to increased stress and anxiety for clients, and private bankers must be able to allay their worries and offer assurance. However, it is pivotal that private bankers are competent in delivering unfavourable information or counsel in a tactful, forthright, and open way.


By approaching difficult conversations effectively, private bankers can strengthen relationships with their clients and position themselves as trusted advisors.

Sometimes clients do want to make decisions based on emotions. In those situations, I always take a step back with them and advise them that if they just go with their emotions, which is something that we all try to do at times, they may not get the best outcomes or returns.

To achieve this, private bankers must develop strong and effective communication skills and the ability to empathise with their clients. They must be able to comprehend the issues that their clients are facing and respond to their inquiries in a clear and concise manner.


Additionally, honest and realistic assessments of the market and potential risks must be made by private bankers, who must also be able to offer workable solutions and strategies for reducing those risks.


In Conclusion

“Client engagement is all about building a deep connection and a long-term partnership between the client and you. The way you engage with your clients determines how the client thinks about you and drives finally client satisfaction. And client satisfaction impacts your reputation and ultimately your success as a private banker.”


He adds, “Don’t be afraid to make amendments in your personal development where you see fit, be energized and take ownership of your own career. To take ownership, possessing care, credibility, competency and commitment are pertinent and that is where upskilling has an important role to play.”


Learn to build long-term relationships in the world of private banking directly from industry veterans such as Henk at WMI’s Customer Relationship Management module, under Advanced Diploma in Wealth Management.


WMI’s Advanced Diploma in Wealth Management has a modular structure that allows you to select one or more modules based on your learning needs, job role or interest. Upon completion of all seven modules and assessments in three years, you will be recognised and accorded an Advanced Diploma academic qualification.


Speak with our Client Solutions team today to learn more!