revolution is changing the way we interact with our customers every day and
this new world has a profound impact on how we structure, distribute and
service our customers.
What are the biggest opportunities for Santander UK in the next 3 years?
As a scale challenger bank - our biggest opportunities are building on our
success in both the retail and corporate (SME) banking markets. We've had great
success in growing our primary current account customers, through the success
of our 1I2I3 current account proposition; and we've seen double digit growth in
our SME loan book. Our opportunity is to develop deeper relationships with the
customers that we've attracted through our best in class products and services.
In addition - the digital revolution is changing the way we
interact with our customers every day and this new world has a profound impact
on how we structure, distribute and service our customers.
Finally - we have an opportunity to better segment the markets in which we
operate. This is in part driven by the growth in the digital capability, which
allows banks to offer more bespoke products, but also by customer expectations
of a new service.
What plans do you have to maximise on these
In terms of broadening the digital side of the business,
we are working with a third party to launch an investment platform, which will
make it easier for customers to invest on-line. But we also recognise that
for some decisions, our customers will want face-to-face advice. To meet this
need, we are growing our Financial Planning Managers and locating these
professionals in our biggest branches. In addition, we will be launching a
Private Banking offer to better serve the needs of our most affluent
And what do you consider the key challenges that your
business will face?
We expect the UK economy to continue to recover,
and are well placed to take advantage of this. More wealth in the economy is
good for the banking sector, and Santander is busy ensuring it has the product,
services and capability to take advantage of the improving outlook. There is no
doubt that banking has suffered a lowering of trust, amongst customers; and we
need to work with the industry, policymakers and regulators to help rebuild
If you look at the world of banking and finance, what
single issue do you see most often?
Providing a proposition and service to meet the needs for those with smaller
amounts to invest. The biggest unintended consequence of the RDR is that there
is now an advice gap in the UK where some smaller investors can't access
affordable advice. The average pension pot in the UK is £30k not £300k, this is
the biggest change in a generation and people need help post the Pension
reforms. The Financial Advice Market review led jointly by FCA and HMT will
help I am sure come up with a more pragmatic regulatory framework to solve the
advice gap with simpler, straightforward automated solutions.
back at your career what have been the pivotal moments?
In my mid-20s,
a senior sponsor saw potential in me, took a chance and appointed me to run
Abbey's Supermarket Banking operation. The real game changer came in 2004, when
Santander acquired Abbey. Many people forget that Lloyds Bank as it was then
was also in the frame to acquire Abbey. Personally, the perspective of an
international bank, and the expertise Santander brought to the UK has helped
really broaden my horizons.
What other business leaders do you
Jeff Bezos at Amazon for the business he has created. Amazon
are the standard in the market, simple and easy to use - banking needs to be as
seamless. Sir Alex Ferguson for his ability to build and rebuild high
performing teams, and for his sheer desire and will to win.
would you give to your younger self?
Stop kidding yourself that you
were ever going to have a career in professional football and focus on studying