This month’s Sound Off Q&A with industry insider, Linda Kuiters, former Business Unit Director at Intertrust.

Finos: Name the biggest challenge that comes to mind the industry faced in the past, and how they overcame it.

Linda: Know Your Client (KYC), WTT, stricter substance requirements. When I started in this industry in 2001, the KYC file was about 10 pages long and only one form was required for the bank

Finos: How did you see the use of technology used by the industry change in your career/lifetime?

Linda: It changed a lot. In 2001, and later years, correspondence (emails, letters, etc.) were still filed in hard copy files that we had to keep for our clients. We also had daily (paper) mail on our desk, the so-called ‘postboek’. Nowadays, almost everything is being kept electronically. When I started in this industry, I had to write down my hours on a paper form, which the reception then entered into a system. Sending documents by fax was still popular then and on a weekly basis I received a list with phone calls on which I had to indicate whether any of the phone charges should be billed to a client.

In an industry where trust is key, and personal service is the name of the game, how can a trust company grow and keep the personal touch in service delivery (i.e. not lose the client’s trust).

Focus on fees, quality, and less focus on various financial targets. Improve efficiency, also in processes and turn these into lean and electronic processes if possible.

Finos: What advice would you have for the next generation of industry leaders?

Linda: Keep putting the client first, because obviously without a substantial client base, there is no need for employees. No clients and no employees means: no business.

Finos: In your view, what responsibility does the industry have in leading the charge in developing new services for clients?

Linda: They must remain up to date with any upcoming changes, in the areas of legal, general developments & possible (adverse) impact for clients. The industry must be pro-active rather than reactive.

Finos: If you would start a new trust company from scratch today, what are the top three things you would focus on to differentiate yourself from the crowd?

Linda: Lean processes (paperless), more dedicated, personal attention to client needs, transparency towards employees, to be realistic, and to not make promises you can’t keep.

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