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Private banks woo global NRIs with Indian experts

india Updated: Dec 04, 2010 15:18 IST

Singapore-based private investment banks are wooing global Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), targeting billions of dollars of their wealth, as they gear to hire several Indian bankers to cater to their needs.

The Singapore market of 3 lakh NRIs is worth about USD 20 billion, reported The Straits Times today.

Barclays Wealth, RBS Coutts and Standard Chartered Private Bank (East) are eager to increase the share of managing the NRIs investments.

The number of banks wanting to cater to this segment is increasing with Singapore's DBS Private Bank having set up a dedicated team to manage the NRIs segment.

Almost all banks are on a hiring spree with some recruiting senior banking executives from India to gain a competitive edge in managing these cash-flush NRI accounts.

The NRIs market "is growing much faster than our talent pool," concedes Srinivas Siripuraopu, head of South East Asia and South Asia at Barclays Wealth.

Barclays Wealth has one of the biggest teams serving the high-net worth NRIs with 30 relationship managers, up from 20 within a year. Siripurapu is planning to recruit more executives from India.

Though these executives would take a longer time to adjust to a new country and culture, "but their familiarity with developments in the Indian economy more than makes up for the time taken to adjust," the Straits Times quoted Siripurapu as saying.

Ranjit Khanna, head of NRIs and South Asia at RBS Coutts, said: "the NRI high-net worth segment is estimated to be growing at eight to 10 times the average growth of wealthy individuals."

RBS Coutts aims to double its Singapore-based NRI team serving Asia and the Middle-East.

The Standard Chartered Private Bank's expansion of private bankers, investment advisers and support staff serving the global Indians "has kept pace with growth in assets under management as we continue to support this segment," said its head Rajesh Malkani.

The Standard Chartered Private Bank's Global Indian Programme managing the NRIs wealth has grown by 25% since last year.

DBS Private Bank's DBS Treasures plans to increase headcount next year "to capture a greater market share in the affluent NRIs segment."

DBS Treasures serves clients with at least SGD 3,50,000 in investable account, which has grown by more than 5.5 % between January and September this year.

To attract the cash-rich NRIs, the banks hold lavish parties, dinners and concerts. For this year, DBS provided its clients with VIP tickets to Singapore concerts by Asha Bhosle, Jagjit Singh and Pankaj Udhas.