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What if the digital age was an opportunity for better communication?

By Annamaria Testani, Vice President, National Sales

We’re living in a time when everything is digitized, automated or robotized. Some fear that these changes will diminish the importance of people as part of our processes. But I believe that, on the contrary, they represent an opportunity to become more aware of how important people are in our operations.

Taking advantage of the situation

Robotics enable us to perform tasks quicker, but both now and in the future. However, people will remain a necessary part of what I call emotional management. Automating certain tasks will give us more time to strengthen our communication skills and practice active listening..

Active listening means taking the time to go beyond the task at hand to understand the person in front of us. This involves understanding their projects, goals, dreams, fears, desires and, above all, their projected wants versus current needs.

A robot will ask, “Do you want to make an investment: yes or no?” If you want to purchase a house, no robot will ask, “Why do you want a house? Or could a condo meet your needs just as well? Have you considered renting an apartment, so you don’t have to use your savings or cash in your investments? Can we find an advantageous, optimal strategy that will allow you to both save and satisfy your current housing needs?”

We’re in the middle of a communications war, not a robotics war. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. We need to automate repetitive tasks so that people (my colleagues, investment advisors, investors, even myself) have more time to communicate, discuss, understand one another, and develop good listening strategies. In my opinion, the future belongs to companies that succeed in helping clients differentiate their dreams from their real needs.

Be attentive to advisors… and their clients

At NBI, putting people at the centre of our processes starts by understanding the difference between the role of a portfolio manager and that of an advisor. Many in our industry still believe it’s the investment advisor’s responsibility to manage portfolios. Not at NBI.

We build investment solutions. We find amongst the best managers. Our job is to deliver returns. Advisors seek to satisfy their clients by helping them create value!

I’m happy to say that our role is to handle everything that is tactical, administrative and operational in order to give advisors the latitude they need to listen to and understand their clients’ actual needs.

Prioritize authenticity and dialogue

Some of our employees used to believe that the automation of certain tasks would cause their jobs to disappear. Now they know that’s not true. On the contrary, we want to add value to their role by giving them more time to do what’s important.

Our culture is based on the continuous improvement of our talented professionals, since at the end of the day, they are the ones who produce results. If we didn’t have that level of respect for our employees, who are deeply committed to NBI’s success, we couldn’t evolve as asset managers.

Over the years, this innovative spirit has defined our company and our position in a constantly evolving market. From this strong positioning are derived many initiatives that have the power to bring about change.

We’re convinced that dialogue and authenticity enable the best results. For us, in the long run, people are the unique contributing factor in differentiation, innovation, and long-term success. In my view, you need to keep up with emerging trends in the industry, but while trends come and go, our clients’ needs remain! What are your thoughts on the subject?