Standard Chartered India is eyeing 25-30 per cent growth in its private banking business in 2012. This is part of the bank's strategy to focus on high-value customer segments, said Mr Sanjeeb Chaudhuri, Regional Head of South Asia and Chief Marketing Officer, Consumer Banking.

The foreign bank's private banking segment, launched in 2007, manages assets of over $2 billion.

The bank is looking at leveraging its corporate and SME (small and medium enterprise) clients to increase the private banking customer base.

“It is not just revenues from the private banking segment, but revenues from the relationships we have with the customer that makes this segment important for the bank,” Mr Chaudhuri said.

Flexible on assets

While the threshold for private bank customers is investible assets worth $3 million, the bank insists it is flexible.

“No customer brings all business on day one. There are customers who are starting by just opening an account. We are happy to do that. If I have a significant corporate relationship and if the CEO or CFO wants to open a private banking account, we will not say that because you don't have $3 million right now you cannot open an account with us,” Mr Chaudhuri said.

The bank has plans to organise seminars for its private and priority banking clients, where experts will talk to them about investment trends.

Customers will be encouraged to bring along friends to such seminars, who in turn could be potential customers for the bank. The bank already conducts such seminars in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

Long-term view

“We are seeing that private banking consumers are not looking for quick returns. They are willing to take a long-term view because markets are unpredictable in the short term. This is a trend we are seeing across geographies,” Mr Chaudhuri said.

The bank also plans to increase its staff strength for this segment by 25 per cent over the next 12-18 months as capacity increases. It has hired about 350 frontline staff in the first half of 2011, he added.

priyan@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 4, 2012)
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