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By Coenie Smith, Head: Special Segments and Business Acquisition

Like everybody else, doctors face the challenges of everyday life which, in South Africa, include power and water outages, as well as the normal pressures of family life and rising living costs. Perhaps more than other professionals, doctors also find it hard to strike a decent work–life balance: illness and emergencies don’t keep office hours.

At whatever stage of their careers that they might be at, doctors are chronically short of time. One of the potential casualties of this time shortage is their financial affairs. Busy doctors simply lack the time to go into branches to perform complex transactions or get advice. They also do not have the time (or often the expertise) to develop effective investment strategies. In a similar vein, if and when they decide to go into private practice, they can find it difficult to acquire the knowledge to set up and run their businesses profitably.

While banks cannot solve all these problems, they can certainly position themselves to help with most of them. The banking industry has been an active and early adopter of technology, and one of the benefits of this is the ability to develop and deliver focused service offerings for niche market segments—doctors in this case.

You might sceptically ask, ‘What that would look like, and how could a bank possibly help a busy doctor?’

Based on my own experience leading a team within Private Clients that focuses on medical professionals, the key benefit a bank can offer a doctor is a dedicated relationship banker. A relationship banker is the client’s wingman in the bank: a single point of contact for all their financial needs – somebody who knows all the bank’s specialists and can call on them when needed.

It goes without saying that such a relationship banker would be highly versed in the financial complexities of the medical profession. A relationship banker is somebody who is available anytime, ideal for busy doctors with erratic schedules, and on any channel, so there is no need to waste time on in-person meetings. If this becomes necessary, or documents need to be delivered, the banker will deliver them personally.

It’s all about minimising the time doctors need to take out of their busy schedules to attend to financial matters, but in a way that their financial futures are protected.

As members of the Private Clients family, doctors would be in line to benefit from a range of ‘perks’ such as access to airport lounges, travel insurance and so on.

A key pain point for doctors is the final year at varsity. It’s make-or-break time, with insanely long hours and the brutal pressure of finals. And then, without a pause, it is time to start internships. To help navigate that, we don’t offer just a relationship banker but also zero monthly fees for the last 12 months of their final year, and reduced fees for the beginning of the internship until they reach 30.

With that kind of help, the soon-to-be doctor can start their working life with the necessary bank accounts and, even better, somebody who has their back when it comes to finances.

As the doctor’s career develops, the relationship banker can play an evolving role, helping them set themselves up for financial success. This could mean sound advice about how to budget in order to invest for their children’s education and retirement. A particular benefit would be expert help with setting up a private practice, if that is required. Like any business, a doctor’s practice needs to have a clear business plan, with particular emphasis on cash flow. A skilled relationship banker can help create the business plan and model the cash flow, thereafter helping to access finance as needed.

Doctors have a huge role to play in making our societies better, and with the right kind of bank, they can get the financial rewards they deserve.

Join Private Clients on https://private-clients.nedbank.co.za/medical-professional-call-back.html or call 0102147820 to speak to a relationship banker.

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