A Meeting of Minds Bank & Brand Distribution of Retail Financial Services is usually the loudest Meeting and probably the most innovative, bringing together senior executives involved in setting strategy across distribution; client services; product design and marketing.

Companies represented are the high street banks - including the so called challenger banks - and the building societies; and the brands from both the high street and on line; the third element of the audience are the membership organisations









If you would like to find out more about these events, do please call John Hall on 01483 861 334 or email him on



  • Business success depends as much on employee satisfaction as it does on customer satisfaction

                 Moderator: Andy Follows - Aquilae Expert: Simon Hill – Wazoku Simon set the scene, explaining that innovation can be a hook towards employee engagement which, as well as providing multiple other benefits, is synonymous with employee satisfaction. He suggested that, rather than focusing on innovation as an outcome, companies should practise behaving innovatively and let the innovations emerge. He also pointed out the connection between a company’s culture and its ability to innovate. He shared an example of two separate businesses within a group well known for its innovative behaviour.  One entity had grown up being innovative and the other, an acquisition of an established business from a traditional sector, was having to learn to behave innovatively and was finding it a struggle. He recommended that we ask ourselves, “How do we engage and develop people to drive the business forward?’’  as well as considering, “What are the blockers to behaving innovatively? Is it our culture, are people afraid, could it even be our managers?” To the question of how to handle the increasing aversion to risk experienced in organisations beset by regulatory compliance pressures we were advised to adopt innovative behaviours “at the level of the organisations we want to be”. There is a feeling that behaving innovatively has to be expensive, this is not the case. How much do you know about the people in your organization and the value that they could add? You need people with different qualities. Some may be great with ideas while others provide useful challenge to strengthen and refine those ideas and so on. There are lots of steps in the change journey and a range of actions that we need to be taking to avoid potential icebergs. It’s important to harness the diversity of opinion that exists within our businesses and in so doing to engage our employees in the task of keeping us relevant. The at times all-consuming nature of maintaining “business as usual” was a common challenge for the group. One organization has set up its innovation lab completely separately from the main business to allow it the freedom to explore and develop new ideas away from the more traditional behaviours and daily operational pressures of the main business. So far this approach seems to be working with their “hackathons” attracting a lot of interest. We discussed and agreed the value in having specific problems in mind when engaging with employees to elicit their innovative solutions. For example, we might ask them, “How do we do away with policy wording?” If the brief is too wide, so will be the ensuing suggestions and the quality of those proposals will suffer. Use the hackathon to hone in on a specific area that you want to address and take care in positioning it that its name, borrowed from the world of cyber-crime, does not cause people to assume that it’s a day for techies only. The comparison with Silicon Valley firms and how they treat employees interested our group. Who doesn’t like free food?! It was acknowledged that encouraging people to eat together also created an opportunity for people from different areas of the business to sit together and talk about what they were doing and challenges they were tackling. Allowing ideas to rub up against each other in this way is a recognized ingredient for innovation, so there’s a potential payoff for all that generosity. Equally, there were lessons to be learned from a much more traditional UK retailer, known and appreciated for the quality of customer experience it delivers. This took us into other elements that drive employee engagement like having a sense of ownership of the business, the importance of trust and the levels of performance that can be maintained when employees hold each other accountable and call each other out should their standards slip below the group’s expectations. Collaboration was cited as a strong contributor to the success of this particular business and that behaviour kept appearing throughout the session as a cornerstone of healthy and effective culture and an ingredient for innovation. Communication and the cascading of key information was also felt to be vital. Being kept up to date by your manager had a special value and was perceived to hold more significance than a blanket “corporate” message. Celebrating success and recognizing achievements was acknowledged as providing fuel for continued efforts as well as shining a light on areas of the business that employees may otherwise not know much about. A greater all round awareness can lead to more collaboration and innovation as people merge their different perspectives. The value of having a clear mission that motivates employees to jump out of bed in the morning was also discussed. For some organisations it’s very easy for employees to see how the work, that what they are doing is making the world a better place. For others, it’s not immediately apparent and the leaders must spend time identifying their mission and helping employees at all levels connect with it or they risk letting a significant amount of potential contribution go to waste. (This was echoed by Linda Moir in her closing keynote with the excellent example of the incredible commitment of the volunteers at the Olympic and Paralympic Games). Some organisations collaborate with charities to help bring some overtly meaningful activity into their employees working day. We touched on the barrier represented by acronyms when people are prevented from understanding and potentially collaborating with other departments because they don’t know what they’re talking about! Jargon can speed things up for those in the know and may engender a sense of cohesion for the group using it but at what price if it’s also serving to isolate them within the business?

    01 June 2017A Meeting of Minds Bank and Brand Distribution of Retail Financial Services - April 2017

    Retail Financial Services

  • Building an eco-system to help more people look after their relatives in later life

              Moderator: Collette Dunn – Milliman Expert: Gordon Henderson, AXA PPP Healthcare Let’s look at issues around healthcare for those in later life. With all the pressures on the NHS, we want to encourage people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Independent living is to be encouraged. However, it isn’t always that easy and sometimes they need the support of their family. So this is another call for new thinking. In Asia, the culture is for families to care for their elderly family members – in fact they are respectful of all that accumulated wisdom (the writer says wistfully). In the West, we are not always quite so caring … so is there some way in which we can “encourage” or “nudge” families into being more supportive of their elderly relatives? Create an ecosystem? Thoughts? Gordon Henderson, AXA-PPP, presented selected data and information to inform the context of caring for the elderly and the needs of this age group. We have an ageing population (10 million in 2010 rising to an estimated 19 million in 2050) and as people age there is a higher risk of accidents.  For example, falling is a major risk for the elderly with 1 in 3 of those over 65 years having a fall and 1 in 2 of those over 75 years.  Falls are the leading cause of disability and death from injury in this age group.  The fear of falling reduces the quality of life of people once they have had a fall.  The growing elderly population and their increased need for healthcare, places increased pressure on limited resources.  For example, of those over the age of 75 years, 75% have a chronic condition.  A 65 year old woman can expect to live, on average, for a further 11 years free from disability and a further 9.7 years with a disability. There are many opportunities for better eldercare.  However, at present there is no single point of information to go to for help with eldercare that can be accessed by either the elderly person, or their children.  Commercial organisations provide financial information and advice, for example the Skipton Building Society, Just Retirement and Nationwide.  Many are focussing on offering the right customer propositions and improving the service and products they currently offer.  We also have healthcare organisations, such as AXA-PPP, offering health information, advice and services.  Coupled with these commercial organisations, we noted that there are some excellent charities, such as Age Concern, and of course the NHS and Social Services. In this context, we discussed some of the great technology available to keep elderly people safe and in their own homes for as long as they want.  For example, watches that trigger an alarm if the wearer falls and doesn’t move for one minute. Whilst all the organisations mentioned above, and others, do excellent work for elderly people, they do not currently work together to provide a one-stop-shop for eldercare.  One of the commercial organisations in the group mentioned that they had approached the NHS and Social Services but neither were willing to work with them on providing a single point for eldercare. We discussed the idea of some of the organisations working together to form an ‘ecosystem’ to provide this single point of access for eldercare.  This would be likely to involve a single interface that would direct people to the appropriate organisation to help them.  Ideally the interface would be more than a platform and would actually help in the provision of joined-up advice (currently advice on eldercare is given in silos).  We discussed whether this could be run as a commercial model.  Our view was that there is a huge unmet need in the UK and that most of the pieces to form the solution – the ‘ecosystem’ – were already in place.  

    01 June 2017A Meeting of Minds Bank and Brand Distribution of Retail Financial Services - April 2017

    Retail Financial Services

  • The rising spectre of cyber security - do banks hold the solution?

        Moderator: Kevin Mountford – PBF Solutions Expert: Anton Baboglo & Sarah Collinson – Affinion   

    01 June 2017A Meeting of Minds Bank and Brand Distribution of Retail Financial Services - April 2017

    Retail Financial Services




A thought provoking day - inspired to go and make some changes tomorrow

Nationwide Building Society