Are Private Bankers Poor at Describing What They Do or Simply Just Anti-Social by Nature?

Last night I attended a private reception for Financial Services Professionals (FSP) specifically focused on private bankers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers et al and a few of the companies that service them. As I moved around the room I’d ask …

Me: “What do you do?”

… to which I received the response either

FSP: “eh … what do you mean?”

… or they proceeded to recite the entire glossy corporate brochure by heart. Every one was wearing name tags with their name and the company so you knew where they were from and unless you were a complete industry outsider (in which case you wouldn’t be at the reception anyway) you knew what the company did. So I’d ask again,

Me: “Yes, but what do YOU do?”

FSP: “eh … what do you mean?”

… I remained tight lipped and allowed a pregnant pause to ensue …

FSP: “eh … well I’m a XYZ Manager” or  “I work in the XYZ department”

Me: “Let me ask it differently; what do ***YOU*** do that adds value to your clients?”

The majority of the responses to this were along the lines of …

FSP: “What do I what?”

In all fairness there were the occasional good ones, possibly proving the 5% 95% rule.

For now forget the question about value though and go back to the original question, ‘what do you do?’. What I found amazing was that these people all seemed to identify themselves as part of a corporate machine that does ‘something’, as opposed to being able to articulate what it is that they do within that environment that differentiates them as a person, an expert in their field, or a professional who makes a difference.

Remember that this was an industry reception so there was no need to tell peers what their company does … everyone in the room pretty much knew what each of the companies did. I would have thought it more important to tell your peers what makes you the big swinging dick of your company or your department, blow your own trumpet, beat your own drum, and don’t bore me to tears with your corporate slogans.

Certainly this type of reaction is not exclusive to the financial services industry; I have seen it at other more generic networking events and receptions. What stood out for me on this occasion was the number of people who seemed firewalled from the reality that they work in a service industry and that their right to survive (at least should) depend(s) upon the value they bring to their clients. Clearly the financial services companies they all work for are not creating a work environment that fosters this understanding; or am I simply over-reacting?

Paul J. Lange
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Paul J. Lange

Founder & Chairman at T.H.E. Group
Exit Strategist, Investment Readiness, Inspired Process

International Veteran Private Equity Industry, Investor, Venture Capitalist, Strategic Advisor, Keynote Speaker, Author, Mentor

For more information read My Story
Paul J. Lange
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Paul J. Lange About Paul J. Lange

Exit Strategist, Investment Readiness, Inspired Process

International Veteran Private Equity Industry, Investor, Venture Capitalist, Strategic Advisor, Keynote Speaker, Author, Mentor

For more information read My Story