Citi targets HNW clients


By Sarah Kendell

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Global financial services group Citi has announced a move to aggressively grow its wealth business in Australia through targeting affluent local investors with new digitally focused products and services and recruiting 100 new relationship managers to improve services to private clients.

In a statement released yesterday, the group said it would embark on the recruitment push over the next three years, while at the same time rolling out a new digital currency account for high net worth clients with international needs.

In addition, Citi would launch a number of new services making it easier for clients to engage with their financial holdings online, including a digital platform providing full access to clients’ investment portfolios, and would roll out video, audio calls and live chat within the group’s mobile app.

Commenting on the announcement, Citi head of Asia-Pacific retail banking Gonzalo Luchetti said the group was looking to leverage its international capabilities in its push for more Australian wealth customers.

“Citi globally has been an adviser and manager of choice for wealthy individuals and families for the past 200 years and we see an opportunity to leverage that expertise and better serve and grow our clients in Australia,” Luchetti said.

“It’s not creating something new for our Australian operation – we have some of the best structured investment offerings in the country and have been building wealth management relationships with clients for decades.

“But we want to expand our operation in Australia, offer a more holistic wealth management solution and drive growth through our relationship managers who are recognised by our clients as industry leading.”

The company said it planned to triple its wealth client base off the back of a 30 per cent increase in net new money and a 14 per cent rise in assets under management in its investment business in 2016.

It also recently recruited a new investment advisory and research executive in former BNP Paribas fund specialist Elsa Ouattara, while ex-National Australia Bank head of currency overlay Danica Hampton joined as the group’s new head of investment specialists.

Luchetti said given the growing pool of wealthy investors in the Australian market, the expansion of the local wealth business made sense to Citi.

“Australia has the third largest pool of high net worth individuals in Asia-Pacific, with more than 230,000 people with $1 million or more in investible assets, and with nearly 70 per cent of high net worth individuals in APAC holding investments outside their home country, there is opportunity for Citi Australia to leverage its global brand awareness in the region and capture a larger share of this group,” he said.

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