BMO thinks outside the bank

Groceries, laundry and podcasts by Pamela Wallin brought to you by ... BMO?

The Toronto-based bank is getting creative about differentiating itself from its formidable competition. Two of its divisions – the private client group and BMO Harris private banking – have recently debuted efforts that go the extra mile for clients.

The private client group has just launched a podcast series hosted by Pamela Wallin – former journalist, NYC-based Canadian Consul General and newly named Chancellor the University of Guelph – targeted at the pre-retirement 40+ crowd. It covers issues that matter to this group, like health care and the economic environment.

‘This supports our strategy around new retirement – retirement isn’t what it used to be,’ says Caroline Dabu, SVP marketing, private client group, explaining that today’s retirees see the prospect of time off as an opportunity to reinvent themselves. ‘Strategically, it’s another way of educating our clients.’

Dabu says podcasting is an ideal medium to reach her time-starved targets, who may be too busy to handle extra reading material. ‘They can listen in the car, at home, while working out,’ she says. ‘We’re constantly looking for ways to interact with our clients online.’

Dabu says the series will be ongoing, and non-retirement topics may be added to the podcasts down the road.

Meanwhile, BMO Harris’s new lifestyle services package, called enCircle Exec, will take care of mundane tasks for its busy clientele, including ordering concert tickets, gift wrapping and booking vacations. The services will be offered to clients with at least $500,000 in investable assets as part of a fee calculated as a percentage of their balances. BMO is working with Sheppell-FGI to provide the concierge services.

‘What the [exec] segment tells us is that…in a way, sometimes time is more valuable than money,’ explains Jean Blacklock, VP at BMO Harris. ‘We believe that this will bring in new business…we’re really standing out with this. There’s nothing like this in Canada.’