In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, one of the major tasks that European financial regulators set out to accomplish was to examine how banks were conducting sales operations and building client relationships.

Nine years later, with the fallout from the meltdown as well as the subsequent euro zone crisis still hanging over the Continent, both regulators and investors continue to ask just how equitable those relationships are.

Initially, regulators pushed forward with a plan to unbundle sell-side research from bank relationships in order to mitigate banks’ incentive to give their highest-paying clients more information, or favor, than they provided everyone else. But reform initiatives have persisted. Regulators and investors are zeroing in on fees, product construction, and technology. Investors want better service, and they want to pay less for it.

This makes the sales challenge ever more complex and high-pressure. Salespeople must familiarize themselves with an ever-expanding range of products with increasingly nichelike functions to squeeze every last drop of return out of a low-growth environment. When any investor can pull up their online brokerage account and buy a low-fee exchange-traded fund, who wants a relatively pricey middleman? Sales teams have to focus on differentiation and value creation or risk obsolescence.

Through all of this, the leaders of Institutional Investor’s 2017 All-Europe Sales Teams have stood out for their ability to balance client service with contributions to their banks’ bottom lines.

Continue reading at Winning the European Sales Challenge.