Citibank continues to expand coverage of affluent in AsiaComtex News Network
Sep 11, 2012 (Datamonitor via COMTEX) --Citibank has announced the opening of its latest Citigold Private Client centers, extending coverage to the South Korean market. While a global program, its focus remains on the strong Asian HNW market, emphasizing how important Asia is for wealth managers looking to grow assets under management and how competitive this market is becoming.
South Korea became the latest country to have Citigold Private Client offered onshore with the opening of the country's Citigold Private Client Center in Seoul. This follows the extension of the program to China in August. The Citigold Private Client program, first launched globally by Citibank in Singapore and Hong Kong, is designed to fill the gap between Citigold, the bank's successful and long-running program for the mass affluent, and the private bank, which targets clients more likely to be classed as ultra high net worth (uHNW). For example, in Korea clients are required to have a minimum total balance of KRW1bn ($882,000), of which at least KRW500m is invested in assets.
This is a lucrative market in Asia and around the world. Indeed, the Citigold program operates in a wide variety of locations, such as the US, Russia, and the UAE. However, for most of its coverage in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa it is an offshore operation targeting clients through the International Personal Bank, Citibank's offshore banking arm.
The large number of onshore locations in Asia relative to the rest of the world, which at Datamonitor's last count included China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, highlights the importance of Asia for the private wealth management market. Other wealth managers have also set up operations to target clients with roughly $1m to invest. For example, DBS and United Overseas Bank, Singapore-based banks with regional aspirations, have developed programs for Asian HNWs that can invest at least $1.2m with them. Other banks are likely to follow in their footsteps, making the market for the mid-affluent (HNW individuals that can invest $1m-4m) a crowded, if lucrative, space.
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