Technology

The Rise of Multi-Channel Unified Relationship Management

A staff reporter, 3 April 2001

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The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has chosen Chordiant Software as its platform of choice for multi-channel CRM, a phenomenon which is becomi...

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has chosen Chordiant Software as its platform of choice for multi-channel CRM, a phenomenon which is becoming more and more important for private bankers. Private banking giant RBS, which is now the third largest UK banking group and arguably the UK’s foremost private banking group, has chosen Chordiant as its strategic CRM platform and the standard for all new CRM developments in its conglomerate.

Steve North, head of strategy and architecture at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Technology, said: "By combining the Chordiant platform with the PrimeResponse campaign management application already in use, we can develop highly personalised customer profiles and make these immediately available across the enterprise."

Neil Morgan, head of European information for Chordiant, told Complinet: “The relationship manager at a private bank needs to see information on his client or prospective client. When the customer contacts the bank or vice versa, we bring all the information about him to bear. This includes all the marketing information and his complete profile. We bring all that to the fingertips of the bank relationship manager who is talking to the private customer.

Morgan elaborated: “This means that if you apply for a mortgage you don’t have to fill out the form. The product database is piped in and gives the relationship manager information on all the latest products. It also links all the transactions to back office information. The software we are installing at RBS is group-wide and also targets less well paid retail customers, but the platform is different for private client management.

“We practically stumbled on the idea of doing this a year ago when we were talking to the banks and discovered that they wanted something like this. As well as RBS, we are also doing something similar with Lloyds TSB. It has a parallel with the small business asset finance market where we’ve been active. The average bank has already spent a long time getting software to create deeper information feeds, but traditionally it’s not been given to the relationship managers. These people have several hundred private clients and carry around a lot of the information in their heads, which means that it is often old information. Now they can have access to real time stuff.”

There are no figures for the number of customers a typical relationship manager has. At Adam & Co., the figure might be around 300 or 400, at the top banks it may be around 70 and for the ultra high net worth market it may be only a dozen. The average figure for all relationship managers is perhaps 100 or 150. The automation of the process is bound to save many managers asignificant amount of time.

Why has it taken the banks so long to apply this type of middleware to private banking? Catherine Tillotson of Scorpio Partnership, a UK wealth management strategy think-tank, told Complinet: “This is multi-channel CRM, which private banks have been pretty slow to pick up on. In the past, CRM has been for a front office only, but the front end is only part of Chordiant’s platform. I think SunGard has a platform as well. There are two reasons why banks have dragged their heels over this:

the whole scene is dominated by traditional, old-fashioned relationship managers and

most banks use creaking mainframes which are legacies from the past. Private banks have been particularly guilty of failing to keep up.”

Credit Suisse is the first - and so far the only - large private bank which seems to have installed group wide software which can support platforms like these. Citibank is also going group-wide soon, but progress in the sector as a whole is slow.

Chordiant is based in California and specialises in business software. Before last year, RBS had no private banking facilities except Adam & Co., a small Edinburgh private bank with £2bn under management, and Drummonds, another Scottish bank set up in London. RBS bought NatWest last year.

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