Citi's loss is Deutsche's gain as 18 jump ship

Most of the 18 private bankers that Deutsche Bank has poached from Citi will be based in Singapore.
In the latest post-bonus season reshuffle, Deutsche Bank has poached 18 private bankers from Citi. A Deutsche Bank spokesperson confirmed that the majority of the bankers will be based in Singapore.

There seems to be some confusion regarding the nature of the hire. Some sources with inside information say that all the bankers are product specialists, while others say the 18 are evenly split between product specialists and relationship managers/investment advisers (who have direct client responsibility and interface).

Deutsche currently has about Ç21.5 billion ($29 billion) of private banking assets under management in Asia. Citi private bank manages more than $60 billion of assets in the region.

In February 2007, Deutsche announced it was bringing on board Ravi Raju, a veteran Citibanker with 16 years experience with the US bank. He joined Deutsche in the capacity of chairman of private wealth management for the Asia-Pacific region from his previous role as managing director at Citi wealth management. At the time, Deutsche said ôunder Ravi Raju's leadership, we will further invest in growing our private wealth management franchise in the region".

Ex-Citibankers are using their inside knowledge of the best and brightest at Citi wealth management to populate the teams at the organisations they join. Asia is showing the largest increase in wealth across the globe and consequently private banks are focusing their attention on this region. In many key Asian markets, Citi has been able to leverage its branch network and history of operations to break into the wealth management business. This very edge is now making it the preferred poaching ground for its rivals.

One example of this was the August 2006 hire of Rahul Malhotra by Merrill Lynch from Citi to head its newly created global private client group in India, encompassing Merrill Lynch onshore operations in India as well as the non-resident Indian business. Malhotra had around two decades of experience with Citi, most recently leading retail banking for Citi in the Asia-Pacific. Malhotra has gone on to bring a slew of Citibankers to join him at Merrill.

A Citi private bank spokesperson when contacted to comment on the development says: "Staff turnover remains well within industry standards. We are in fact recruiting actively in order to meet the demands of a growing business, especially in high-growth onshore markets like China and India."

Analysts commented that Citi is vulnerable currently to the uncertainties attached to the headcount reduction which it is shortly expected to announce. It is expected that the bank will shed 5% of its staff, about 17,000 people, to reduce costs and improve profitability. Amidst this environment, some bankers may have decided to take matters into their own hands and seek greener pastures.
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