Caught in the FICC of it: The changing role and requirements for investment bank sales teams and how research can drive cross-asset sales

The traditional sales function at banks is changing from a resource-intensive, one-size-fits-all sales model to a more bespoke model. Client centricity is increasingly at the forefront. That means effective, informed and value-added sales conversations are more crucial than ever.

Taking a step back in time, we used to have walls between the FICC sales. Those walls have tumbled, and banks are now moving to a more cross-asset sales approach.

So the relationship manager or sales expert can likely handle a currency product sell alongside a fixed income product. But they need cross-asset research and information input to support their proposal.

PwC’s recent report on the future of sales for investment banks concluded that the key opportunity for the banks is in how to best leverage the data they hold to help their salespeople evolve their own skillset.

In short, bank sales and relationship managers need data-led intelligence, delivered through technology, so the client gets a tailored, increasingly cross-asset service to clients, which in turn will drives sales and deliver for the bank’s balance sheets.

But not all internal stakeholders in FICC trading and sales are fully leveraging the goldmine of information held within in-house research and how to use it to their advantage.

A stronger understanding of trends, market activity and client needs can help banks and their sales teams manage client relationships, unlock previously unseen client opportunities and grow their market share in all asset classes or themes of interest– Commodities, Foreign Exchange, Equities, Macro, Credit and Fixed Income.

The problem at the coal face for banks’ sales teams is time – and their lack of it. Up to 70% of their day can be spent on admin tasks required by internal processes, procedures and getting data.

They don’t have the time to keep up to date with external news, never mind digging down into their own resources and sifting through research for insights to share with their clients.

So, while banks have known about the potential power of technology to make life easier for their sales teams, for a while – PwC found that ‘84% of respondents expected banks to have significantly advanced research and analytics capabilities embedded in five years’ time’ – they haven’t made a lot of progress.

The good news is that a solution to this issue now exists.

Research digitisation, offered by Limeglass, transforms the liability of information overload into the asset it was designed to be by harnessing next-generation financial technology, AI and Rich NLP to atomise financial research. For the first time sales teams can now directly explore research at paragraph-level, avoiding the need to open each individual document to find what they, and their clients, are looking for.

This tailored solution not only saves time, but it also helps banks to optimise their existing research while delivering accurate, actionable insights to their clients in an instant.

Steven Saywell