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Citigroup Sets Out Asian Wealth, Private Banking Recruitment Targets

Tom Burroughes

20 April 2021

Following reports that the US-based bank is pivoting more towards wealth and shedding its Asian retail footprint, said yesterday  that it will add about 2,300 people – including 1,100 private bankers and relationship managers in Asia, by 2025.

The lender said that its “Win in Wealth” campaign is expected to add more than $150 billion in assets under management across its Asia-Pacific franchise, including $120 billion in the high net worth segment.

The announcement came after Citigroup formed Citi Global Wealth in January, aligning the private bank with the consumer bank under the leadership of Jim O’Donnell, former global head of investor sales and relationship manager. In certain ways, the move has echoes of HSBC folding units together into its Wealth and Global Private Banking unit last year.

“The Asia-Pacific wealth market stands out in its scale and growth potential. And this is not a cyclical opportunity – it is structural, driven by the emergence of a vast middle class and the rapid development of regional capital markets. Along with macro-level asset growth, Asian customers increasingly require portfolio advice, design and allocation geared towards diversification of asset types and geographic exposures,” Peter Babej, Asia Pacific CEO, said.

“We are already a wealth management leader in the region, and taking this business to the next level is a strategic priority,” he said. 

O’Donnell added: “We are putting the full force of the firm behind this effort to create a single, integrated wealth platform that will serve all clients, providing tailored capabilities for affluent individuals to ultra-high net worth families. We source the best asset management partners for our clients based on their needs rather than focusing on our own offerings. We also benefit our commercial bank that serves a client base where wealth is created."

The bank’s global wealth franchise in Asia includes Citigold (affluent), Citigold Private Client (core HNW) and Citi Private Bank (upper HNW and ultra HNW). The firm said it counts about one-third of the region’s billionaires as clients.

In 2020, the bank recorded over $20 billion in net new money inflows across the region.