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I had the luck to be treated to a certain Michelin 3 star restaurant in Napa valley today. It was amazing to say the least. Everything was absolutely perfect. The food, the service, the atmosphere… It is exactly what its reviews promised it to be.

One thing was missing, though, that made it not as satisfying as some other restaurants: passion. The owner, being the celebrity chef that he is, is excellent in making sure his kitchen cranks out quality food, but his busy days working on all his different restaurants naturally makes the food lose its warmth.

Now, this isn’t a “3 star” problem, as I have eaten at 3 star restaurants that inject their passion into their food (hmm…maybe its time for a stint in the food critic industry). It merely is a problem that slowly arises when your attention is diverged to something else. And trust me, the customers can tell.

I see banking (private, commercial and investment) having these inevitable problems too…only on a much more magnified scale. It is certainly not hard to identify when a wealth manager is recommending you products that look like they were grabbed out of thin air. It also isn’t very difficult to tell if an equity report had free cash flow numbers that seemed to be taken from a fortune cookie.

I guess what I feel is most important over your bank (or restaurant’s) reputation is showing your love for your work. And I guess from the trend we’re seeing in finance, people who love what they do is getting rarer and rarer.

Not that this restaurant wasn’t one of the most amazing ones I have eaten at. I was just searching for a bit more love from the chef for his art. But like a three star restaurant, bulge bracket banks should stop taking their customers for granted, and show more love for what they produce. A report from, say, Goldman Sachs is great and all, but if the banker can put the extra touch in to convince the reader they really were passionate and proud of their work, it does so much more in terms of convincingness.

In any restaurant, be it banking or restaurants, I feel as though there is nothing more important than making your customer feel loved. Show some love for your clients today!

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