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Citi appoints Global Wealth Co-Heads in Asia Pacific

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Fabio Fontainha

In late January 2021, Citi unveiled its new wealth management unit “Citi Global Wealth” – unifying the group’s Consumer Banking’s retail wealth management business and the Institutional Clients Group’s Citi Private Bank. Leading this newly formed unit is Citi veteran – Jim O’Donnell.

In line with the above announcement, Citi’s made key appointments in Asia’s wealth management franchise. Fabio Fontainha and Steven Lo have been named as Co-Heads for Citi Global Wealth in Asia Pacific. Fabio Fontainha and Steven Lo will directly report to Jim O’Donnell and Citi’s Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Babej. Further, Fabio Fontainha will also join Steven Lo on the Asia Pacific Operating Committee. Citi currently ranks as a top three wealth manager with approximately US$300 billion in assets under management (AUM).

In an internal memo, Peter Babej highlighted the bank’s vision for and commitment to the region. “The scale and growth prospects, driven by the emergence of a vast middle class and the rapid development of regional capital markets stands out for the Asian Wealth management sector”, noted Peter Babej. Further, he also added that the bank’s “industry-leading talent, distinctive global network and broad product platform, makes it well positioned for market leadership.” The group witnessed record net new money inflows of over US$20 billion across its regional franchise, spanning consumer banking wealth management as well as the private bank in 2020.

Steven Lo

As prime market for wealth management, Asia has been on Citi’s radar as the bank is focused on winning in wealth in the region. A testament to this is when Citi opened the largest wealth hub globally for Citi in Singapore last year. It also announced plans to double AUM by 2025 in the market and triple number of clients in the same period.

In the recent times a number of institutions have focused on growing or expanding to Asia-Pacific due to ideal market conditions, favourable demographics and various other factors. BCG’s Global Wealth Report 2020 highlights scenarios where Asia ex Japan Wealth is expected to grow from 5.1% to 7.4% under different recovery scenarios in the next 5 years – leading the growth trajectories for North America and Western Europe. In line with this, Asia is will be the fastest growing wealth region under all scenarios.

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