HONG KONG • Citigroup said a focus on rich young Asians and new products has helped accelerate net new money growth at its Asia-Pacific consumer wealth business last year to about 10 per cent, and a similar annual growth is expected over the next few years.
Mr Anand Selvakesari, Citi's Asia-Pacific head for consumer banking, told Reuters that growth in net new money improved last year from around mid-single-digit levels in the last four to five years.
The bank has expanded its digital offerings to tap more young clients and has also launched new products, Mr Selvakesari said.
He did not disclose net new money dollar figures.
Asia has emerged as the main battleground for global wealth managers, with higher economic growth, rapidly rising wages and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem producing rich clients at a pace faster than the western world.
That trend helped Citi's regional wealth business add 8 to 12 per cent new customers last year, he said.
In Asia, the Citi wealth business, as part of its consumer banking unit, taps people with investable assets of between US$50,000 (S$71,325) and US$10 million.
Citigroup's top three wealth markets in Asia by revenue are Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Other fast-growing markets in the region for the bank include China, India, South Korea and Australia.
"There is continuous wealth generation happening - a growing emerging affluent segment. At the top of the pyramid, wealth continues to grow in these big markets," Mr Selvakesari said. "The potential is there for double-digit growth given the demographics in these markets."
Last year, Asia-Pacific posted a 4.5 per cent rise in total household wealth to US$80 trillion, as per Credit Suisse Research Institute's annual global wealth report, versus 2 per cent growth in North America and a negative 1.7 per cent in Europe.
Wealth per adult also rose by 2.9 per cent, the fastest among all regions, it said, adding that wealth will likely grow by 6.3 per cent annually, reaching US$109 trillion by 2021.
Citi posted on Wednesday a 7 per cent rise in its global net income to US$3.57 billion. Its Asia consumer banking revenue rose 4 per cent from a year ago to US$1.7 billion, helped by growth in the wealth management and cards businesses.