Andy Paterson, president of the Central Region for BNY Mellon Wealth Management, joined 30 students from the Undergraduate Finance Association at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University to talk about wealth management, the future of the industry, and his advice for those who are about to embark on their career paths.
Paterson stumped the students by asking which bank they thought was the first in the U.S., and the audience was surprised to hear that it was the Bank of New York. He explained that from many of the bank’s “firsts” – making the first loan to the U.S. government, being the first company traded on the New York Stock Exchange – BNY Mellon has evolved to become one of the top 10 wealth managers in the U.S.1 Paterson pointed to relationships as key to success and a large part of the reason that BNY Mellon Wealth Management has a 97% client retention rate2 and a 94% client satisfaction rate3.
Speaking about the future of the wealth management industry, Paterson highlighted one industry trend that BNY Mellon is watching: robo-advising. Paterson noted that technology is a valuable tool and decision science helps advisors make better decisions for their clients, but the human element will still be important. While robo-advising is garnering attention, it may not be suitable if an investor’s needs go beyond an asset allocation strategy to a complex estate planning integration.
“In the face of disruption from technology, for financial advisors to thrive, they need to go beyond emphasizing the role of asset allocator in their practice,” said Paterson. “They need to emphasize the human touch, judgment enhanced by experience, and other qualities that machines still cannot provide, such as providing a steadying influence during bear markets.”
Turning to the topic of the students’ futures, Paterson urged them to perfect their communication skills, take control of their careers with the help of mentors and tackle challenging situations to build their visibility and credibility. For students interested in wealth management, he urged them to focus on their relationship-building skills, stressing the importance of “turning a bond into a bridge” and earning clients’ trust.
He also offered his thoughts on leadership as he spoke about his role at BNY Mellon: “If you find yourself in a leadership role, make sure you stay connected to the business. Empathy and credibility with your peer group and those that report to you is very important.”
Sharing a final piece of advice, Paterson used his own career path as an example and said, “Don’t think about your career as linear. There will be zigs and zags, but as long as you think ahead and raise your hand, you will find yourself in a career that is both challenging and fulfilling.”
1 Barron’s, 2015
2 As of 1/2015 for 2014
3 BNY Mellon Wealth Management 2013 Client Satisfaction Survey