More Growth, Hires On Tap for Citi Private Bank - Charrington

Charles Paikert Family Wealth Report Editor New York 19 May 2010

More Growth, Hires On Tap for Citi Private Bank - Charrington

At least 100 new private bankers will be hired as Citi Private Bank builds out in New York, the west coast, Chicago and the southwest, says chief executive Peter Charrington.

Hiring continues apace at Citi Private Bank North America, which has recruited six new private bankers, one top executive and two investment counselors in the last two and half weeks alone.

And don’t expect a slowdown anytime soon, chief executive Peter Charrington told Family Wealth Report in a recent interview.

At least 100 new private bankers are to be hired over the next few years, bringing the private bank’s ultra high net worth group, which targets investors with a net worth of at least $25 million, up to 230 to 250 bankers from its current total of 130, said Charrington, who marks his first year on the job next month. In his previous role, he was head of Citi Private Bank’s business in the UK, Israel and Monaco.

More bankers will also be hired to beef up Citi’s 50 person law firm unit, which targets the legal profession.

“We’re looking for the right talent who are private bankers at heart, can thrive in an institutional bank-based culture, understand how to work as a team and can bring those resources to the client,” Charrington said. “We want people who will be with us for a long time. This is not a short-term trade.”

He would not reveal details about what kind of compensation Citi is offering to lure bankers in a sellers’ market, but did say he was paying “competitively to recruit the best talent.”

The banks’ priority is to “scale up” the New York office and build up its west coast presence in existing offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Orange County under the direction of Tracy Warson before opening new locations, Charrington said.

Citi is also targeting build-ups in Chicago and the southwest and has hired Mike Smith to start recruiting talent in Chicago next month, while Mark Connally will open up an office in Dallas later in the summer to anchor the southwest build out.

On the east coast, Citi plans to staff up existing offices in Florida, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New Jersey.

In Canada, talent will be added in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. No acquisitions are planned, Charrington said.

US Trust veteran Charles Merrill has been brought in to step up recruiting and business development efforts in New York.

Industry perception that New York accounts for a disproportionably high percentage of Citi Private Bank’s revenues and profits was “incorrect,” Charrington said.

But he readily acknowledged that New York, headquarters to both the Private Bank and its parent company, Citigroup, was vitally important to the bank’s ultra high net worth business.

“New York is the financial center of the world, and it is a massive market in our business,” Charrington said. “We think we can grow quite substantially here.”

Part one of a two-part series.

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