Global prognosis O 10 special What's NewS Issue 11 December 1997 health care is something along the lines of aiming to be one of the best in this particular market. To achieve that, he believes a number of major themes must be addressed: the creation of a single global balance sheet full exploitation of all forms of liquidity diversification of income sources from proprietary financing function introduction of a customer focus to STIR. The above clearly requires a lot of work, planning and organization. So what happens next? STIR will be exploring other resources and responsibilities, ie. the establishment of centres of competence so crucial to both a single balance sheet and effective operation. The business plan (at present, the documents on the table are no more than proposals) will be completed and STIR will begin tackling what it calls the '41,000 minds' challenge - in other words, Cuthbert and his team will be active in communicating how they fit into the existing organization and what they have to offer. But perhaps most significantly, what Cuthbert is hoping to do is 'confuse people as to who they work for. We want to try and instill the notion that people no longer work for New York or London or Hong Kong, they work for Rabobank International - whatever their actual location.' Cuthbert will be The task forces reported exactly one year ago, health care was still pretty much a new kid on the block. In the meantime, hard work and focused marketing have given the bank's growing number of dedicated teams a shot in the arm. Business manager Arnold Kuijpers reports on how health care is making the pace for the future. The choice of health care as a focal sector for Rl is no longer questionned, not least because of the unremitted lobbying carried out by Kuijpers and his cohorts.This is a large and steadily growing market. It offers a good fit with Rabobank's international market positioning, ie. by its very nature health care is relationship banking par excellence as well as being a knowledge intensive sector. 'Those are advantages,' notes Kuijpers. 'Add to that the fact that we already had something of a business and know-how nucleus and that no other bank is doing it, then you'll see why it's an opportunity for us.' A number of demographic factors are also making the sector increasingly attractive - greater life expectancy in many developed markets which means demand will be even more discontinuous and growing purchasing power for health care and related services. PRODUCT ACCESS But however much progress has been made, there is still a long way to go before health care becomes firmly embedded in the bank. 'One problem is a lack of product capabilities,' notes Kuijpers. 'We have no difficulty placing products - there's enough Arnold Kuijpers demand. It's more a problem with access to products. We still focus too much on the single product approach (credit).This is where our product specialists in investment banking can really help us out.' According to Kuijpers, it is more than simply putting a cluster of products in place. 'That's important, of course,' he says. 'But this industry needs different products at different stages in its development. What we should be doing is positioning ourselves to anticipate those requirements in our various regional markets.' Besides the opportunities investment banking could offer, the health care people are also location regardless of the impact on branch P&I., provided this action will increase group profitability. They will set up sales forces around the network who will report to them. 'Understandably,' Von Ungern- Sternberg continued, 'the question arises: what do the general managers then do? Initially, they will see their direct management responsibility for what was in the past their biggest single profit centre severely curtailed.' BUILDING CONFIDENCE In his introduction to RICO earlier that day, Arthur Arnold had already outlined general managers' responsibilities to local markets as representative of a powerful, conservative, reliable and solid bank. Von Ungern-Sternberg reiterated Bert Bruggink and his controllers are working on an 'appreciation'system which will take into account every office's contribution to a done deal. that key role. 'Customers will need to feel comfortable that Rabobank is a reliable, long term player in IB. Newly hired, fairly young IB professionals, however good they may be professionally, will on their own not be able to imbue this confidence in our clients. Until such confidence has been inspired, we may do opportunistic deals, but we will not be counted amongst the top five IB relationships for selected larger corporales or investment institutions. Therefore, this relationship management function is a key role of the general manager.' BRANCH CONTROL Von Ungern-Sternberg went on to make an inventory of a number of other crucial areas where in his perception nothing has changed in the traditional general manager's role and responsibilities. 'They are our local entrepreneurs, which from an IB point of view will ensure customers are not only well treated, but also that the local market is understood and local opportunities for Corporate finance is on track to meet the goals set in its business plan (see What's News, 9/97).

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

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