Wealth management

Citibank targets mainland China’s top earners in revamp of wealth management business

The bank has doubled the assets threshold requirement for clients of its Citigold service, looking for a niche in the face of stiff competition from Chinese banks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2018, 8:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2018, 8:58pm

Citibank has revamped its wealth management services in mainland China to focus on winning business from among the country’s highest earners as a way to better compete with its much bigger and better-resourced Chinese rivals.

The bank said it had doubled the asset threshold requirement for its Citigold wealth management services to at least 1 million yuan (US$158,000) from the previous 500,000 yuan, and is offering improved digital and international banking services.

It said it aimed to continue double-digit growth in assets under management in the wealth management segment in mainland China in the coming years, after seeing a rise of 13 per cent in 2017. Last year, the number of its wealth management clients in mainland China rose by 9 per cent.

“The rising Chinese economy sees a growing pool of globally minded affluent individuals in China,” said Darren Buckley, country business manager of global consumer banking at Citi China.

The bank said investible assets held by individuals in mainland China have grown by five times in the past decade to 188 trillion yuan.

The Chinese government has said that about 400 million Chinese could now be regarded as of “middle income”, giving the country the world’s biggest such population. The nation’s economy grew 6.9 per cent in 2017, faster than the 6.7 per cent in 2016.

Citibank, the retail banking unit of financial services conglomerate Citigroup, has a presence in 13 mainland cities. It was one of the first four overseas banks to set up a mainland subsidiary in 2007 to tap into retail banking, along with HSBC, Standard Chartered and Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia.

Foreign banks are still small players in mainland China, with a market share of less than 2 per cent.