‘Exceptional client service’ is more than just a buzzy phrase at Rothschild & Co – it’s an aspiration deeply embedded in its culture and practices. ‘We think we’re really good at it, and we’re determined to be the best,’ says James Morrell, a managing director at the firm. ‘We’ve focused a lot on our culture… it’s about each and every person in the business.’
Since 2019, the nuts and bolts of client service have been fine-tuned by the firm’s exceptional client service committee, established to develop ways to finesse Rothchild’s interactions with clients. A key feature has been an internal ‘adopt-a-client’ initiative, where small working groups are convened from various parts of the business to better understand each other and their respective clients’ needs. ‘We’ll talk through a particular client and bring to life their needs, demands and expectations of us – and how we’ll seek to meet them,’ Morrell says. Everyone is encouraged to keep the powerful rhetorical question is this what ‘exceptional’ looks like? in mind at all times.
Low client-to-adviser ratios are essential, as is agility. Rothschild will endeavour to provide solutions quickly. ‘As we know our clients so well, it’s far from unusual for us to be able to provide a loan within 24 hours,’ Morrell says.
The pandemic provided further evidence of the firm’s nimbleness. Serendipitously, Rothschild conducted two drills in mid-January 2020 to road-test its ability to under- take its work remotely. As a result, Morrell says, ‘When we actually asked our staff to leave the office, we knew that they were well prepared, and our usually high service levels haven’t missed a beat.’ The firm also put on a slate of events for clients and their families. When Wimbledon was cancelled, it hosted a virtual champagne-and-strawberries chat with Tim Henman, while more muted events saw it offer tips to clients coping with isolation.
Rothschild’s efforts have resulted in enviable client feedback. Two-thirds would recommend the firm to their friends, while three-quarters of new assets placed in the hands of the firm’s client advisers are from existing clients. Part of its success has come from drawing upon its 220-year heritage. ‘There’s a long-term perspective that’s pretty unique to Rothschild,’ Morrell says. ‘I’m effectively a new joiner – I’ve only been here 11 years.’
Image: Sebastian Nevols