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A trend which has taken on increased importance in the financial services industry: managing differences, or conflict management. Why the Royal Bank Financial Group thinks management differences, and managing conflict well is good for business. An era in which companies and individuals are held increasingly accountable for their actions. The reality that mistakes and mis-steps receive far more attention than the accomplishments. Being judged by what goes wrong. Success dependent on what we do to make our wrongs right. What conflict management is all about. The ombudsman's job: what was expected, what was learned over the last 12 months. A significant trend, exemplified by the banking community's initiative to establish an ombudsman. Major issues that guided the office of the Ombudsman in 1996. Five key aspects of Royal Bank Financial Group's conflict management programme: dispute resolution; interest-based negotiation; independent, impartial review processes; proactive investigation and recommendations; preparations for the future. A detailed discussion of each aspect follows, with illustrative examples. Concerns for the future: privacy, data-based marketing and service-delivery channels, with a discussion of each. The role of the Office of the Ombudsman one of the stewardship of bank principles, not policy-making. Effects of deregulation in the 1990s. The Ombudsman's job to bridge the gap between the interests of the client and his financial institution. A few final thoughts about the next few years. The lynch pin to continue to be the ability to successfully manage differences and apply academic principles to real-life situation.