What the customer wants

'Time for the industry to take back ownership of the relationship with clients'

Robert Waugh, Chief Investment Officer, Royal Bank of Scotland Robert Waugh

If you want to know what customers want, it’s important to be in the business of serving them.
But it also helps if you’re a customer yourself.

Robert Waugh has seen both sides. He was a senior investment manager at Phillips & Drew, Edinburgh Fund Managers and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership before switching sides to become the CIO at the pension fund of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which invests its £26 billion with many in the fund industry.

Is the investment management profession giving customers what they require? Often not, Waugh deduces. He says, “The industry tries to deliver alpha, while it really should be more focused on helping people with their savings.” He adds: “I’m not arguing that the industry shouldn’t exist. I’m arguing that much of the time it is not providing value.”

Waugh suggests there’s plenty more work to be done on actually designing services around meeting client needs and away from the current obsession with beating investment indices. And he says it is time for the industry to take back ownership of the relationship with clients from consultants and advisers. He observes that it’s impossible to know what clients want if you never get to talk to them.

Read more in our report.