David Zammit, Head of Sales and Distribution for Citi’s Wealth Management business in Australia, has an ambitious goal for the next three years: he plans to double the size of his team of Relationship Managers.
Leveraging its capabilities as a global bank, Citi Australia announced earlier this year that it plans to reposition its wealth management business to focus on meeting the needs of Australia’s high net worth (HNW) investors, a rapidly growing segment of its client base.
“Citi globally has been an adviser and manager of choice for wealthy individuals and families for the past 200 years, and we see an opportunity to leverage that expertise and both better serve our clients and grow our client base in Australia,” says Zammit.
“It’s not about creating something new for our Australian operation. We have some of the best structured investment offerings in the country, and have been building wealth management relationships with clients for decades. But we want to expand our operation in Australia, offer a more holistic wealth management solution, and drive growth through our relationship managers who are recognised by our clients as industry leading,” he adds.
Zammit says the recruitment drive is about keeping pace with the rapid expansion of Cit’s wealth business. “Examining our growth projections for the near future, we will need to hire around 100 new Relationship Managers in the next 24 months to best serve a growing client-base. At Citi we’re looking for high-quality, entrepreneurial candidates who want a challenging, innovative job at a global bank.”
Zammit says several important economic trends are driving more clients to seek out Citi’s wealth services. These include a protracted period of low interest rates in Australia, fears of a potential property bubble, and a benign equities market.
“Because of this, clients are facing an increasingly tough investment environment, where it’s harder to make money above inflation and tax,” he explains. “Our wealth management insights have therefore become more valuable and – largely through word of mouth – awareness of our research, investment products and advice, has recently been spreading in Australia.”
Relationship Managers at Citi service HNW clients with more than $1m to invest. “We’re seeking senior Relationship Managers or financial advisers, who have significant technical knowledge, and at least 10 years’ experience, ideally from an international firm,” says Zammit.
Citi is open to providing training for junior relationship manager roles, he adds. “We’re recruiting on a very large scale and our training is second to none, so for these positions we’ll consider candidates from other parts of the financial services sector.”
The new roles will be based in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane – the cities experiencing the most client growth – but Zammit welcomes applications from across Australia and globally. “For example, you could be a returning Australian expat, or from a market like Hong Kong, China, Singapore, or Korea. Many of our wealth clients are originally from Asian countries,” says Zammit. “We want to recruit Relationship Managers from a diverse range of backgrounds to match our diverse client base.”
No matter where you are applying from, Zammit says you need to be “passionate about markets” to work in wealth management at Citi. “We have an open architecture policy, so our Relationship Managers don’t just provide Citi’s investment products and solutions. To succeed here, you must have broad technical knowledge across the market – from equities to fixed income.
“You must also understand what makes up clients’ portfolios and what their risk profile is,” adds Zammit. “Some clients want Relationship Managers to validate their investment thinking, while others want actual recommendations.”
As well as having investment skills, Citi’s new Relationship Managers will focus on “building trust and rapport with clients”. “Our clients make significantly sized investments with us and that brings with it a large amount of responsibility,” says Zammit. “Our Relationship Managers guide and direct clients, and discuss the possible risks around the corner.”
Zammit says new Relationship Managers who join Citi are often struck by the “entrepreneurial” working environment. “We’re creating roles in which Relationship Managers actually feel like they own the business, which sees them go above and beyond to serve their clients.”
The size and nature of Citi’s operations in Australia give its Relationship Managers “the best of both worlds”, says Zammit. “Locally, we’re smaller than the four domestic Australian banks, allowing us to be nimble and adapt quickly to market changes,” he says.
Citi’s global presence also means it offers exciting opportunities for career advancement. “A high proportion of our employees in Australia end up being promoted internally or offshore, while others move into different roles at Citi,” says Zammit. “Our emphasis on internal mobility is often a big motivation for Relationship Managers moving to Citi and staying with us. Once on board, high performers can expect to find career advancement through a variety of opportunities both on-shore or via Citi’s global network.”
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