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Rathbone Brothers (RAT) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Rathbone Brothers (United Kingdom)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Rathbone Brothers is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – increasing household debt because of falling income levels, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, wage bills are increasing, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, increasing commodity prices, there is backlash against globalization, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Rathbone Brothers


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Rathbone Brothers can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Rathbone Brothers, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Rathbone Brothers operates in.

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.




SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix


SWOT analysis of Rathbone Brothers can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Rathbone Brothers
2. Improving business portfolio management of Rathbone Brothers
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in United Kingdom
4. Making a Investment Services sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Rathbone Brothers




Strengths of Rathbone Brothers | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Rathbone Brothers are -

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

– Rathbone Brothers has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Rathbone Brothers staying ahead in the Investment Services industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Rathbone Brothers in Investment Services industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Learning organization

- Rathbone Brothers is a learning organization. It has inculcated three key characters of learning organization in its processes and operations – exploration, creativity, and expansiveness. The work place at Rathbone Brothers is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Rathbone Brothers emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Rathbone Brothers comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Investment Services industry, building diversified operations across different geographies so that disruption in one part of the world doesn’t impact the overall performance of the firm, and integrating the various business operations and processes through its digital transformation drive.

Training and development

– Rathbone Brothers has one of the best training and development program in Financial industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.

Analytics focus

– Rathbone Brothers is putting a lot of focus on utilizing the power of analytics in business decision making. This has put it among the leading players in the Investment Services industry. The technology infrastructure of United Kingdom is also helping it to harness the power of analytics for – marketing optimization, demand forecasting, customer relationship management, inventory management, information sharing across the value chain etc.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Rathbone Brothers has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Rathbone Brothers has effective processes in place that helps in exploring new product needs, doing quick pilot testing, and then launching the products quickly using its extensive distribution network.

Digital Transformation in Investment Services industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Rathbone Brothers digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Rathbone Brothers has successfully integrated the four key components of digital transformation – digital integration in processes, digital integration in marketing and customer relationship management, digital integration into the value chain, and using technology to explore new products and market opportunities.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Rathbone Brothers are driving operational speed, building greater agility, and keeping the organization nimble to compete with new competitors. It helps are organization to ideate new ideas, and execute them swiftly in the marketplace.

Strong track record of project management in the Investment Services industry

– Rathbone Brothers is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.

Organizational Resilience of Rathbone Brothers

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing Rathbone Brothers does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

– Suppliers of Rathbone Brothers in the Financial sector have low bargaining power. Rathbone Brothers has further diversified its suppliers portfolio by building a robust supply chain across various countries. This helps Rathbone Brothers to manage not only supply disruptions but also source products at highly competitive prices.






Weaknesses of Rathbone Brothers | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Rathbone Brothers are -

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, Rathbone Brothers has high operating costs in the Investment Services industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract Rathbone Brothers lucrative customers.

Aligning sales with marketing

– From the outside it seems that Rathbone Brothers needs to have more collaboration between its sales team and marketing team. Sales professionals in the Investment Services industry have deep experience in developing customer relationships. Marketing department at Rathbone Brothers can leverage the sales team experience to cultivate customer relationships as Rathbone Brothers is planning to shift buying processes online.

High dependence on Rathbone Brothers ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Rathbone Brothers still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Investment Services industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Rathbone Brothers has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Rathbone Brothers has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Investment Services industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

– The organizational structure of Rathbone Brothers is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Investment Services industry, but Rathbone Brothers needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help Rathbone Brothers to focus more on services in the Investment Services industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Rathbone Brothers is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Rathbone Brothers to provide better information regarding Investment Services products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Investment Services industry, Rathbone Brothers needs to come up with a strategy to reduce the workers concern regarding automation. Without a clear strategy, it could lead to disruption and uncertainty within the organization.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Rathbone Brothers is just above the Investment Services industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.

Lack of clear differentiation of Rathbone Brothers products

– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, Rathbone Brothers needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of United Kingdom, Rathbone Brothers needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

Products dominated business model

– Even though Rathbone Brothers has some of the most successful models in the Investment Services industry, this business model has made each new product launch extremely critical for continuous financial growth of the organization. Rathbone Brothers should strive to include more intangible value offerings along with its core products and services.




Rathbone Brothers Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Rathbone Brothers are -

Reforming the budgeting process

- By establishing new metrics that will be used to evaluate both existing and potential projects Rathbone Brothers can not only reduce the costs of the project but also help it in integrating the projects with other processes within the organization.

Developing new processes and practices

– Rathbone Brothers can develop new processes and procedures in Investment Services industry using technology such as automation using artificial intelligence, real time transportation and products tracking, 3D modeling for concept development and new products pilot testing etc.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Investment Services industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Rathbone Brothers can take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior to build a far more efficient business model. For example consumer regular ordering of products can reduce both last mile delivery costs and market penetration costs. Rathbone Brothers can further use this consumer data to build better customer loyalty, provide better products and service collection, and improve the value proposition in inflationary times.

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Rathbone Brothers to expand its talent hiring zone. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 20% of the high end workforce in fields such as finance, information technology, can continously work from remote local post Covid-19. This presents a really great opportunity for Rathbone Brothers to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Rathbone Brothers can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Rathbone Brothers to conduct training and development for its employees across the world. This will result in not only reducing the cost of training but also help employees in different part of the world to integrate with the headquarter work culture, ethos, and standards.

Reconfiguring business model

– The expansion of digital payment system, the bringing down of international transactions costs using Bitcoin and other blockchain based currencies, etc can help Rathbone Brothers to reconfigure its entire business model. For example it can used blockchain based technologies to reduce piracy of its products in the big markets such as China. Secondly it can use the popularity of e-commerce in various developing markets to build a Direct to Customer business model rather than the current Channel Heavy distribution network.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Rathbone Brothers can build a diversified supply chain model across various countries in - South East Asia, India, and other parts of the world. This reconfiguration of global supply chain can help Rathbone Brothers to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help Rathbone Brothers to increase its market reach. Rathbone Brothers will be able to reach out to new customers. Secondly 5G will also provide technology framework to build new tools and products that can help more immersive consumer experience and faster consumer journey.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Rathbone Brothers can leverage digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the production process, customer analytics to get better insights into consumer behavior, realtime digital dashboards to get better sales tracking, logistics and transportation, product tracking, etc.

Creating value in data economy

– The success of analytics program of Rathbone Brothers has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Investment Services industry. This can help Rathbone Brothers to build a more holistic ecosystem for Rathbone Brothers products in the Investment Services industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. Rathbone Brothers can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Investment Services industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Rathbone Brothers in the Investment Services industry. Now Rathbone Brothers can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.




Threats Rathbone Brothers External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Rathbone Brothers are -

Aging population

– As the populations of most advanced economies are aging, it will lead to high social security costs, higher savings among population, and lower demand for goods and services in the economy. The household savings in US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan are growing faster than predicted because of uncertainty caused by pandemic.

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Investment Services industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Rathbone Brothers can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Rathbone Brothers high dependence on third party suppliers can disrupt its processes and delivery mechanism. For example -the current troubles of car makers because of chip shortage is because the chip companies started producing chips for electronic companies rather than car manufacturers.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Rathbone Brothers is facing in Investment Services sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Rathbone Brothers demand

– There is a high probability of declining consumer confidence, given – high inflammation rate, rise of gig economy, lower job stability, increasing cost of living, higher interest rates, and aging demography. All the factors contribute to people saving higher rate of their income, resulting in lower consumer demand in Investment Services industry and other sectors.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Rathbone Brothers has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Investment Services industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Rathbone Brothers needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Investment Services sector. According to Mckinsey study top managers believe that the adoption of technology in operations, communications is 20-25 times faster than what they planned in the beginning of 2019.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Rathbone Brothers in Investment Services industry. The Investment Services industry is already at various protected from local competition in China, with the rise of trade war the protection levels may go up. This presents a clear threat of current business model in Chinese market.

Instability in the European markets

– European Union markets are facing three big challenges post Covid – expanded balance sheets, Brexit related business disruption, and aggressive Russia looking to distract the existing security mechanism. Rathbone Brothers will face different problems in different parts of Europe. For example it will face inflationary pressures in UK, France, and Germany, balance sheet expansion and demand challenges in Southern European countries, and geopolitical instability in the Eastern Europe.

Regulatory challenges

– Rathbone Brothers needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Investment Services industry regulations.

Backlash against dominant players

– US Congress and other legislative arms of the government are getting tough on big business especially technology companies. The digital arm of Rathbone Brothers business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Rathbone Brothers can face lack of demand in the market place because of Fed actions to reduce inflation. This can lead to sluggish growth in the economy, lower demands, lower investments, higher borrowing costs, and consolidation in the Investment Services industry.

Increasing wage structure of Rathbone Brothers

– Post Covid-19 there is a sharp increase in the wages especially in the jobs that require interaction with people. The increasing wages can put downward pressure on the margins of Rathbone Brothers.

High level of anxiety and lack of motivation

– the Great Resignation in United States is the sign of broader dissatisfaction among the workforce in United States. Rathbone Brothers needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Investment Services industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Rathbone Brothers Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Rathbone Brothers needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants. We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –

First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of Rathbone Brothers is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.

Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of Rathbone Brothers is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.

Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of Rathbone Brothers to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that Rathbone Brothers needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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