Morning Coffee: Bank's most senior rainmakers confront hideous reality. How to make people trust you

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Who really owns your clients? You, or the bank? Do you really make a difference in the overall scheme of things?

If you're a top M&A banker, you probably do make a difference. Take Lars Andersson, the Morgan Stanley banker who brought in the $66bn Monsanto deal in September as the culmination of 10 years' free advice - Monsanto went with Andersson personally, not his employer. But if you're a more middling senior M&A banker, or a banker whose clients are covered by several different teams, the answer is more nuanced.

Standard Chartered has decided that a number of its senior M&A bankers are indeed surplus to requirement. The bank is reportedly ditching 10 to 15 of its corporate finance MDs (mostly in Singapore) as it eliminates overlaps between them and its regional relationship managers. At a time when M&A revenues have been weak (but might possibly be recovering), Stan Chart's move prompts the question whether other banks might do the same. HSBC, for example, has already begun tracking its senior M&A bankers just to make sure they're working.  Typically, the money saved from Standard Chartered's MD cuts is to be reinvested in technology. Individual bankers and their relationships are less important in a world where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are in the driving seat.

Separately, if you want to get someone's confidence, you just have to give them a little touch. Bloomberg cites research by Columbia University which found that people who experience a one second pat on the shoulder are more likely to choose risky options than those who don't. They surmise that the touch technique could be used by salespeople who want to gain clients' trust. The only problem is that it only works when women are doing the touching. The good news is that CRM systems are at clear a disadvantage here.


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