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Investments 25 May 2018

In a world of uncertainty, trust and fiduciary services offer transparency in the internet age

Maria Holmes has seen quite a lot in her career, starting off as a stock broker and working in the financial industry for the past thirty years.

So it shouldn’t surprise that Holmes has been leading the bank’s asset management segment for the past four years. In fact, under her watch, BBVA Compass’ services in this area have grown from being a “hidden jewel”, in her words, to a visible partner among bank operations.

While the bank has been positioning itself as an agent of change in the digital arena, developing top of the line products like its award-winning app and online tools, Maria’s team has been figuring out ways to utilize digital capabilities to strengthen their association with one word: Transparency.

A democratization of the industry.

“We kind of saw a democratization of the industry with the rise of the internet,” said Holmes, BBVA Compass Director of Asset Management and Trust. “That’s a great thing for the client. It gives people direct access to markets and an easier way to get advice on asset management. Given that we have a large international presence, it’s important to have ways to connect with our clients and ensure our services are provided smoothly.”

For example, Holmes says, a client traveling overseas during the Brexit vote was concerned about what that would vote would mean for family assets. BBVA Compass utilizes a secure, third-party online tool similar to a webinar program to hold video calls with customers in similar out-of-country situations.

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The program verifies the customer’s identity, displays documents and other financial information securely. Then the client and the portfolio manager can view documents together and talk “face-to-face.”

“We have a broad array of clients who have different needs, so there’s no one-size-fits-all formula,” Holmes said. “In fact, we pride ourselves in tailoring our services to the exact needs of our client. So whether they have assets in oil and gas, real estate, or other, we are prepared to handle that.”

Other programs Holmes and her team use include Docusign for easy online account opening. Holmes says sometimes opening up a trust account can involve paper stacks up to half an inch thick.

“That makes it much easier to serve clients in geographies where we don’t have a trust officer.”

So whether Holmes and her team is working on estate, legacy or other fiduciary assets, transparency is always on their mind. Thanks to various digital solutions, that goal is consistently reached.

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