Merrill Lynch expands non-resident Indian coverage

The bank strengthens its non-resident Indian coverage poaching more Citibankers to join Rahul Malhotra.
Merrill Lynch has hired two veteran Citigroup employees to beef up its global private client non-resident Indian (NRI) business. The pair joins Rahul Malhotra who recently made the switch to Merrill Lynch from Citi.

Inderjeet Hora joins Merrill as market director of the European and African NRI markets, based in London. Hora will build this business in those geographies. Hora was with Citigroup for 17 years, most recently as segment head for high-net-worth clients. He has had a stellar run during his stint in the NRI business and is widely credited as instrumental in growing CitigroupÆs business in Europe over the recent past.

Aseem Arora has been appointed market managing director for the Asia-Pacific NRI market. He will drive MLÆs expansion in this region including the key target markets of Singapore and Hong Kong which have large, wealthy NRI populations. Arora has spent 14 years in CitigroupÆs NRI business, most recently as area director for the Asia-Pacific.

Both Hora and Arora will report to Malhotra, who says: ôIndia is one of the fastest-growing markets globally for the high-net-worth population which has resulted in a growing number of high-net-worth NRIs. We have an aggressive strategy to grow our Indian business over the next five years.ö

Merrill poached Malhotra from Citigroup in August 2006 in a newly created position of head of global private client group (India). Malhotra had spent two decades with Citigroup across geographies, his last position as head of retail markets in Asia-Pacific. He has wasted no time in hand picking a team of the best and brightest to aid him at Merrill.

For private banks, India - and Indians - have become the flavour of the month. Historically, a combination of factors including socialist leanings, a prohibitive tax regime and other controls had repressed this market. But all that has now changed and private banks are busy wooing rich Indians, both resident and non-resident. The competition for talent in this arena - as indeed across the financial services sector in the country - seems poised only to increase.
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