VP Bank: The Art of Seizing Opportunities for Progress

By Paul Joseph

High net worth individuals have always commanded a superior level of customer service. However, rising customer expectations extend far beyond the global elite. Indeed, along with digitisation and tighter regulations, a general growth in customer demands have left the finance sector facing considerable staffing and financial challenges.

Christoph Mauchle – head of Client Business and member of Group Executive Management of VP Bank Group– sees exciting opportunities in this regard. We sat down with him to find out more.

Superyachts: Which of these developments in the banking industry have the most far-reaching consequences?

Christoph Mauchle: Customer expectations have risen considerably. In addition to a personalised range of services, the need for independence is increasingly becoming a priority which we are called on to deal with. Everyone is mobile, and can be reached from anywhere. Everyone wants to be able to access their bank’s services and information from anywhere, around the clock, 24/7.

A further development is the abundance of regulations. They leave us and the entire industry facing major staffing and financial challenges. On our part, we have decided to focus on digitisation. In this field, we are proactively laying the groundwork in order to achieve optimum and tangible benefits for our customers.

VP Bank is positioning itself as a boutique bank. What advantages does this have for the customer?

As a boutique bank we do not offer a full range of services. Instead, we specifically focus on areas in which we can see our strengths and where we stand out from the competition. Also, we have a certain independence since we have a global universe of products in finding solutions, for example, so we don’t have to resort to products created by in-house sales departments. This positioning brings significant added value in terms of quality of the products, services and advice we offer to each of our target groups.

VP Bank has announced that it intends to recruit additional client advisors. What does that mean in practice?

We are convinced that the model for a successful private bank consists of skilfully interlocking digital services with expert, personal and trusted advice. For this, we rely on experienced client advisors whom we attract through targeted strategic recruiting. Our aim is to hire a further 75 client advisors across the Group by the end of 2019 who should contribute significantly to our growth.

How do you intend to attract new client advisors in an environment where good employees are in such demand?

Let me start by saying that today's world requires a great deal of flexibility. Employees need to acquire more skills to perform their tasks to the satisfaction of clients and employers. We align our work structures to achieve precisely this goal. So we offer our employees a high degree of freedom of choice. In particular, client advisors benefit from the entrepreneurial freedom to interact with flat hierarchies and make rapid decisions.

Added to that is the highly personal work environment across the entire VP Bank Group, of which our employees form the solid foundation and for which they constitute the key factors of success.

Doesn't a healthy corporate culture stand in contradiction to permanent growth?

You're quite right, keeping culture and growth in a healthy balance is definitely a bit of a tightrope walk. In my opinion, the difficulty is to integrate new employees with different cultural backgrounds and to develop our corporate culture together with them. And the challenges we face only grow in the case of a takeover or acquisition.

In 2013, VP Bank took over various segments of HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt in Luxembourg. Subsequently, in 2015, we acquired Centrum Bank AG, which was the fourth largest financial institution in Liechtenstein at the time. Yes, these times were very challenging, but we have successfully overcome them.

Where do you see the winning formula for successfully integrating new employees?

I am convinced that the key lies in a corporate culture with values that all of us share and live. This provides the framework for the way we work together and creates a basis for accountability and trust. People are creatures of habit. They mainly rely on first-hand experiences and tend to act according to rule-based systems.

With all this in mind, the goal of the organisation must be to use meaningful content from all resources, and to achieve synergy effects – completely in the sense of a jointly lived corporate culture which forms the basis for working together towards new goals and for integrating and implementing the notion of entrepreneurial vision in our everyday work.

By Paul Joseph