Vedomosti Business Breakfast

On Feb. 16, Vedomosti business newspaper conducted a business breakfast on personal financial planning as an effective model for relations between banks and customers. The Russian division of Accenture international consulting firm served as general partner to the event. Representatives of major Russian banks and brokerages attended the breakfast, including Sberbank, VTB 24, Rosbank, Nomos-Bank, Promsvyazbank, Credit Europe Bank, Broker Credit Service, Otkritie brokerage firm and others.

The personal financial planning model assumes that the client’s cooperation with the bank — and particularly the timetable for acquisition of this or that financial product — is designed according to the needs and actual opportunities available to the client, and a personal financial plan as developed by the bank. The plan is based on information the client provides to the bank: current financial status (income, expenses, savings, insurance, etc.), objectives and requirements (major purchases and investments, increases to savings and retirement funds, insurance-related expenses and so on), and the level of risk the client is prepared to assume in pursuit of these goals.

Personal financial planning — a model of interaction with clients in which the bank focuses not on selling its products, but in acting as a financial advisor — is a rare phenomenon on the Russian market. Accenture partner and director of Management Consulting Dmitry Zaitsev served as moderator of the meeting. He said, “It is clear that industry leaders are already aware of the many new opportunities this approach creates for business development. It indicates that mindsets are changing in Russia’s financial institutions. The focus is shifting from ‘What can I sell?’ to ‘What can I offer to help clients achieve their goals?’”

Eduardo Lombardi, one of the owners and founders of the Mediolanum Group, was invited to take part in the breakfast to present the Western experience of applying the personal financial planning model. The Mediolanum Group has established a successful personal financial planning system and was the only Italian finance group to experience growth during the economic crisis. Also on hand was Luis Alberto Moreno, a unique specialist with experience introducing and building personal financial planning systems both as part of a financial group and as a consultant.

Moreno’s talk on the methodology of personal financial planning was based on his professional experience with completed projects in both Europe and Latin America. Lombardi told attendees of his experience introducing and using a personal financial planning model for Banca Mediolanum S.p.A.

Participants also actively discussed the practical application of the personal financial planning model in Russia, covering topics such as the demand for services, financial planning in the highly volatile Russian market, the fact that Russian consumers are unaccustomed to long-term planning, the role of consulting firms in developing technology solutions for banks, as well as the willingness of financial institutions to revise their approach to customer relations.