As the Head of Banking and Wealth Management Distribution at Citi, David Zammit manages the distribution teams for Citi Australia’s retail bank, overseeing the branches, wealth management, mortgages, deposits and insurance divisions. He’s held the position since 2015 but has been with Citi since 2011 when he joined as Vice President of Investments. With over 15 years’ experience in wealth management, working across both boutique and large private banks, we’re delighted to welcome David as an AIB Industry Guest Lecturer in finance.
A sound understanding of finance is not something that can just be left to financial advisors anymore: in this business age, it’s a necessity for all managers to be competent in the fundamentals of finance. This is why finance remains one of the core pillars of an MBA, including The Agile MBA. Reflecting on its relevance across all business disciplines, David explained, “If there is not a basic understanding of finance, it makes it very difficult to make informed decisions around what to invest in, what not to invest in, what controls to put in place and which direction to strategically align your business.”
With clients now more financially aware than ever due to broader skill sets, David has found that, particularly in the high net worth space, the scope of the financial advisor has evolved. Clients now seek validation of their financial decisions, rather than solely seeking advice and direction.
It’s clear that communication is key to financial advisory – perhaps now more than ever. For new finance professionals to thrive in the industry, they must not only grasp technical concepts but have strong communication and interpersonal skills to be able to build trusting relationships with clients. David explained, “Purely understanding a concept and being able to apply that concept is not overly powerful if you can’t communicate that and convince people to go on a journey with you. The most successful people in finance will be able to do both.”
There’s been a myriad of other industry changes too, primarily driven by digitisation and the tap and go phenomenon. All banks, including Citi, are seeing a huge fall in cash usage, going so far as to remove cash from their branches. It’s an evolution that has many benefits but also comes with some potential risks for customers. David explained, “We are definitely seeing an environment where people are at risk of overspending because that psychological handling of money is not stopping them anymore. At the same time, digitisation has increased the level of control, so it is always a relative gain.”
As for his own career, David admits that he hasn’t always had a grand plan for the future, “I’ve never really known what role I’m going to move into next. For me, it’s more around how I’m going to give my clients and organisation something that no one else can give them, and am I enjoying doing that.” A notion which is relevant to professionals across all industries, David highlights that people can see passion in you, so if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it’s time to find something that you can be passionate about.
We look forward to David sharing his passion for finance with our students and welcome him on board as an AIB Industry Guest Lecturer.