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Following from the financial crisis, low interest rates, the increased cost of compliance and higher capital requirements have driven financial institutions to rethink their product mix to achieve sustainable profitability. The level of debt of Canadian consumers has achieved an all-time high, slowing demand for loans which have been a strong engine of growth for banks over the past years. At the same time, the rapid growth of mobile technology, changing customer preferences and the emergence of new technology-based entrants are now changing in fundamental ways how customers think about and use banking services. These changes are affecting all areas of banking, forcing banks to rethink how they interact with their customers and remain relevant in a new connected world. As growth slows and expenses continue to grow, banks face the challenge of finding new sources of growth, adapting to new customer needs while keeping close control over their expenses

Our consultants have worked on a range of assignments in retail banking, wealth management, credit cards, corporate & wholesale banking and institutional asset management.
Personal Banking — Building and maintaining profitable client relationships
The virtual revolution is now unfolding in personal banking. Branch and ATM use is declining in favor of telephone, internet and mobile banking. Virtual banks, technology giants and other major third-party companies are aggressively seeking a foothold in the financial services industry with services and customer experiences that are redefining the industry. As banks struggle to remain relevant in a "banking anywhere, anytime" environment, they will need to rethink their servicing and branch distribution model, focusing on smaller, advice-driven branches as transactions continue to move online. They will also need to become more customer-focused, leveraging business analytics to anticipate key life changes and deliver innovative customer solutions.
Relevant experience includes:
  • Review the business design and product strategy to stimulate growth
  • Review of the retail and central organization of a major cooperative bank to optimize cost and improve effectiveness
  • Development of a distinctive customer value proposition for a major European cooperative Bank
  • Risk reduction of important retail transformation initiative involving the redesign the retail network to increase deposits and optimize cost
  • Development of a retail growth strategy for a major regional retail network
Wealth Management
The wealth management business continues to be an area of focus for major Canadian Banks, based on its solid growth prospects, lower capital intensity and attractive fee-based model. As the market becomes more mature, customer focus and product innovation will increasingly become a requirement for growth. Spending is moving from compliance and operational effectiveness to the front-office. The role of the advisor is changing as affluent customers, shaped by experiences in other sectors ask more of their bank advisor. In addition, Generation X and Y customers are increasingly seeking advice outside of the traditional channels. New advice channels and technology are available to these tech-savvy clients, making it affordable to deliver advice to the mass affluent and general mass markets.
Relevant experience includes:
  • Creation of a distribution strategy and model for mass affluent customers of a major Canadian bank
  • Development of a cross-selling strategy between retail banking and wealth management in a major Canadian bank
  • Review of retail brokerage strategies for major banks
Payments
Payments represent more than 80% of customer interactions for Banks, making it a preferred platform for capturing customers and selling additional financial products such as loans, credit insurance and other services. With the rise in mobile and digital payments, non-bank digital players are looking to take share in what was previously traditional banking. Though banks still hold strong advantages in the payments segment, banks risk progressively losing connection with their customer as the new entrants leverage the existing banking and payments infrastructure to provide value-added products and services, diluting the customer franchise for the banks.
Relevant experience includes:
  • Review of the strategy and organization for a Credit Card & Loyalty specialist based in Europe
  • Support of a European growth strategy for a major Store Card operator based in France
  • Development of an organizational strategy to support innovation for a major Canadian Credit Card issuer
Capital Markets and Institutional Asset Management
The past 5 years has seen unprecedented changes in Capital Markets. Regulation continues to drive much of the change with a move to greater transparency, less leverage and improved governance. While revenues across capital markets have also been put under severe strain following the crisis, efforts to reduce cost at major Investment Banks has had mixed success, due to cost of compliance and move to a more traditional compensation approach with higher fixed and lower variable compensation. While the bigger players can compete based on a full range of services, from client coverage to execution to securities services, smaller players have had to be more targeted in terms of customers and breadth of offering and "drive to franchise".

Canadian pension funds are recognized globally for their size and their model of investment, the so-called Canadian Model. As their assets continue to grow, they will increasingly be faced with the challenge of growing global investment and operational capabilities in order to better capture investment opportunities in both developed and emergent markets, and continue to deliver superior returns.
Relevant experience includes:
  • Development of the target organizational model and integration of operations activities following the integration of two major Investment & Wholesale banks in Europe
  • Development of Capital Markets strategy for a Canadian bank
  • Review of Operations and IS for a major $100B+ Pension Fund
  • Development and implementation of a Transformation Office for the coordination of major initiatives in a $100B+ Pension Fund
  • Alignment of the senior team around strategic direction and priorities for a $100B+ Canadian Pension Fund
  • Review of Private Equity strategy and structure for a major Canadian Pension Fund
  • Review of risk Function, including overall structure and processes, for the Real Estate Division of a major Pension Fund
  • Review of the Real Estate strategy for a major European asset manager
  • Development of growth/exit strategies for strategic investments held by a major European asset manager