First priority within NIBC
The 'Client First' principle finds expression throughout our business. It is at the heart of our business principles, mission and ambition statements, which spell out how we concentrate on long-term relationships of trust with our clients.
NIBC is a bank for both corporate and retail clients. The product range of the retail side of our business consists of savings and mortgages. For both client groups, NIBC has appropriate client focus instruments in place.
In 2008, we shifted our business model from 'originate to distribute' to a strongly client-focused model around two strategic pillars - Merchant Banking and Specialised Finance. The other functions within NIBC, including Treasury, support the customer-facing strategic business units.
In order to concentrate fully on client transactions, we ended trading for the bank's own account, except for interest rate derivatives to support our clients and internal deal flow. Mindful of our duty of care towards clients, we use our NPAP - approved by the Supervisory Board in 2010 - before launching a new product or rolling out an existing product to new clients. This procedure assesses a product's risks and weighs its benefits against associated costs and risks. We updated the NPAP last year, broadening its scope and placing greater emphasis on risk management. The NPAP is described in the Risk Management paragraph.
We have worked hard in recent years to embed and enhance the culture of client focus within NIBC. In 2009, we conducted two large internal projects to create and implement a more customer-oriented strategy, and executed a leadership programme focusing on communicating the mission and ambition statements and the Client First principle.
We strengthened that focus further in 2010. Two days were organised for members of the Managing Board and Managing Directors of the bank, during which the spotlight was on client focus and the duty of care. We launched Accelerating Business & Clients (ABC), an intensive programme to ensure an even better focus on clients. Every client-facing NIBC employee, from Vice President to Managing Director level, participates in the programme, which continues into 2011 and includes deepening our knowledge of our clients and their markets and doing more for our clients. Last year also saw us implement a digital Know Your Customer tool and start an intensive programme to increase Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) awareness.
The Managing Board leads by example: its members are personally and actively involved in customer contact, including client visits. Under our 'Executive Involved' programme, clients have access to a member of the Managing Board. In addition, NIBC management has taken the lead in the leadership programme and team-building activities themed around client focus.
We are fully aware of our duty of care towards our retail customers. We are therefore pleased that the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) has rated our NIBC Direct savings product as above average, and qualified the information on the website as transparent.
Measuring Client Focus
Our business model revolves around springing into action at moments decisive to our corporate clients' development. We do not offer day-to-day services such as payments or cash management. The fact that our clients return to us time and again, and that we successfully cross-sell our services, is the true measure of client focus and satisfaction. To evaluate our client focus more precisely in the future, we will introduce the Net Promoter Score methodology in 2011.
Client focus is a major factor during our employee appraisal process. When appraising performance, the most important key performance indicator (KPI) is our business principle 'We Think Clients'. Compensation for commercial staff partly depends on this indicator, and all employees are required to include at least one target reflecting the 'We Think Clients' KPI when preparing their personal targets.