A group of front-line staff, including universal bankers and financial advisors from across Bank of Valletta’s branch network, investment centres, and private banking, attended a full-day seminar organised by BOV Asset Management (BOVAM) earlier this month.
As explained by Simon Azzopardi, Chief Personal and Wealth Officer at Bank of Valletta, “The event provided a unique opportunity for our people to meet up with portfolio managers at BOV Asset Management and share best practices in the field of investments.”
Corroborating Mr Azzopardi’s comments, Mark Agius, who heads BOV Asset Management, said that in the area of investments, satisfied customers and success stories depend heavily on the personal service offered by financial advisors and universal bankers, as well as a deep understanding of customer needs. The presence of supporting experts ensures that clients from all walks of life receive the appropriate level of guidance throughout their lifecycle. “This is why BOV Asset Management invests heavily in its portfolio managers and takes every opportunity to maintain a healthy and honest dialogue going across the organisation, always with the customer at the forefront of everything we do.”
The seminar kicked off with an overview of the numerous initiatives being undertaken by the Bank to foster improved customer knowledge. “During the past months, we held a series of talks about basic investment knowledge. The response from the public was very encouraging, so much so that we shall soon be launching a new set of sessions at different branches across the Bank’s retail network”, explained Mr Agius.
The seminar included interventions by the Portfolio Managers from BOVAM, who provided an overview of local and foreign market trends. They referred to the Borrowers Confidence Index (BCI) which corroborates the suite of economic forecasts indicating that Malta’s economic growth in 2023 is likely to be less than in 2021 and 2022, but possibly higher than the long-term average. Reference was also made to the key drivers in foreign markets, including the actions being taken by central banks and the performance of markets such as China, whose recovery post-pandemic continues to lag behind expectations.
Among the guest speakers was Tonia Parascandolo, who heads the Bank’s Bancassurance arm. She provided insights into the market’s perceptions and understanding of pensions, ranging from the traditional state pension to the selection of personal pension plans available under the third pillar.
Clint Azzopardi Flores who heads the Bank’s ESG drive, delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the historical context that led to the Climate Paris Agreement targets (2015) to combat climate change. He also described decarbonisation efforts of the EU continent, explaining the implications of transitioning to cleaner energy, even on financial institutions who are now obliged to ensure that their financing is in line with the EU’s climate objectives. Clint explained that the green transition will depend heavily on new and emerging geopolitical realities. This shifting scenario will impact investors and the criteria on the basis of which they will decide where to invest.
In his capacity as Chairman of the BOV Asset Management Committee, Mr Romeo Cutajar brought the seminar to a close. He explained how the Committee supports and oversees the work of Portfolio Managers, ensuring that good governance is retained throughout the process that customers go through when choosing the most appropriate investment paths.
Simon Azzopardi expressed his satisfaction with the level of mature discussion and active participation throughout the event. “Watching our people working so well together and supporting one another motivates us to work harder. Such experiences offer scope for greater sharing of ideas, which ultimately enable us to deliver a consistently better customer experience.”