What does a relationship manager in banking do?

A relationship manager is a client-facing professional who provides advice to the bank’s clients on their investments and the financial services on offer to them.

They typically manage a diverse portfolio of clients and can work with high net worth individuals, governments or financial institutions (such as pension funds and insurance companies). Professionals in this field must understand a client’s financial goals and risk appetite, as well as having a comprehensive knowledge of the industry in order to make informed recommendations and discuss risk management and compliance issues.

Relationship building is key to this role - the individual should quickly become a primary point of contact and trusted advisor to the client and, over time, retain and enhance this relationship, driving the relationship profitability and client satisfaction. Relationship managers are also required to identify and acquire new clients in order to generate new business. This will often involve preparing and delivering presentations and pitches to prospective clients, as well as ensuring a smooth on-boarding process.

Key responsibilities

  • Pro-actively managing and developing effective client relationships, identifying and managing solutions to meet a wide range of client needs and promoting products and services
  • Generating and growing revenue streams through effective client management
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of the client’s financial needs and demonstrating strong product and service knowledge in order to match the bank’s offering with client needs
  • Generating new client acquisitions and selling products to new clients; liaising with the sales team to ensure the quality of leads referred is to the required standard
  • Conducting KYC reviews and risk assessments associated with on-boarding new clients
  • Overseeing the credit risk associated with assigned client relationships
  • Maintaining and updating accurate client information; taking ownership of client service requests and enquiries
  • Making proactive client calls and responding swiftly to client requests
  • Working with other Relationship Managers to enhance the service offered and improve revenue generation
  • Preparing presentations to senior management to appraise them of new business development plans and strategies

Why are they important?

Relationship managers play a key role in maximising how profitable clients are to the bank as a whole and can make the difference between whether a customer maintains (and expands) their relationship with a bank, or not. Effective relationship management, allows the institution to prioritise and allocate resources most appropriately with the clear objective of maximising service levels to drive customer loyalty and increase market share.

Skills needed for this role

The nature of the relationship manager role demands excellent interpersonal, communication and listening skills - it is essential that these professionals are able to inspire confidence and trust. Individuals must also have the ability to research and analyse information, demonstrating a high level of attention to detail and to present and explain complex information clearly and simply. relationship managers must also have good sales and negotiation skills, as well as showing drive and initiative

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Professionals in this area usually begin as an assistant relationship manager, before being promoted to a relationship manager role. Opportunities do exist to progress to a senior relationship manager position or, alternatively, relationship managers can shift between segments or industries.


High level competencies required include:

  • Advisory and consultancy

    A. Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates.

    B. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage.

    C. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems.

    D. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans.


  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.


  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.


  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Strategy and innovation

    A. Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives.

    B. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives.

    C. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options.

    D. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change.