What is required of Institutional Sales i.e. to Swiss Pension Funds

As I used to work in sales trading I thought it was interesting what investment banks or global players in the industry are currently looking for:

  • At least 5-7 years’ experience in selling investment products/solutions to institutional investors i.e. Swiss pension funds.
  • Master degree, CFA or CIIA preferred
  • Established client network is a plus
  • Understanding of Swiss pension fund clients, their investment needs and restrictions is preferred
  • Understanding of capital markets, proven ability to lead asset allocation discussions and ability to link discussion outcome to our product offering
  • Significant awareness of competitor propositions and wider market trends in investment strategy
  • Strong communication skills – ability to communicate verbally and in written form

So to sum up: you need experience (+5 years), a higher degree in finance, an established client network, understanding of clients, understanding of competitors, verbal and written communication skills.

Several of these requirements go hand in hand. If you have worked in institutional sales for several years, you automatically find out about many things your clients are looking for. The competition and what they are offering on the other hand is not always so straight forward. You need to have confidence building skills to get that information from existing or potential clients, as your competitor won’t advertise their offering and tatics at a granular level, if they have anything of added value to offer.

Most job offerings publicised, bascially are trying to short-cut, poach what the competitor has built up over years. A very common business practice that is one of the reasons the cost-income ratio of so many large banks is so unfavorable. They need to pay as they don’t make the effort of building a real culture and team spirit in their companies. People in such work environments are much easier to poach than those in well-run, good companies. I saw that first-hand when I worked for a real Private Bank more than a decade ago. When the partner has skin in the game, the values passed from generation to generation are lived in daily life, then you have much less fluctuation. And more profit and even less risk.

So what will the daily routine involve:

  • Develop and establish existing and new client relationships
  • Contribute to sales and revenue targets, in-line with the strategic business plan
  • Build a client/investment pipeline across the product range, traditional as well as alternatives. Close collaboration with Alternative Sales Specialists to sell the Private Asset offering. Knowledge of alternative investments is a plus
  • Collaborate with local as well as other investment desks to tailor their proposition to our client needs
  • Close cooperation with local client servicing team on a daily basis
  • Maintain and apply up-to-date strong investment and pension markets and regulatory knowledge
  • Support and participate in client and industry hospitality and training events
  • Ensure that all CRM systems are maintained accurately and with up-to-date client information
  • Client coverage will comprise all of Switzerland and willingness to work out of Geneva office on a bi-weekly basis is required

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