ICICI Securities Ltd. aims to double its wealth managers and boost the assets from rich clients to $60 billion in the next two years, as competition ramps up in India’s rapidly growing wealth industry. The current crisis at Credit Suisse Group AG and the uncertainty around its wealth business in India could provide some hiring opportunities, said Anupam Guha, business head of private wealth management at ICICI Securities. The wealth management unit, a subsidiary of ICICI Bank, plans to double its team of around 350 relationship managers and roughly 100 virtual managers.
India’s $600 billion wealth industry is growing 12% annually as more Indians get comfortable with professional wealth management. Large Indian banks like ICICI, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank are aggressively pitching their services to wealthy customers to bring more assets under their management. HSBC Holdings Plc plans to launch its onshore private banking service in India to grab a share of the pie, and Julius Baer Group Ltd. and Liechtenstein-royalty owned LGT Wealth India are also ramping up their wealth businesses in the nation.
ICICI has more than tripled its assets to $39.47 billion in 2022 from $12 billion in 2019. In the same three-year period its private wealth customers increased to 80,000 from 30,000, and its revenues increased four-fold, Guha said. “We used to clock 2 billion rupees ($24.3 million) of revenues in 2019. Today we clock that amount every quarter,” Guha said.
The sweet spot for ICICI’s wealth unit is Indians with between $1 million and $50 million of wealth, according to Guha. “There are nearly 800,000 Indians in this group, essentially ‘grown-rich Indians’ who value brand, good service and are willing to pay for advice,” Guha said. Customers have an average of about $500,000 parked with ICICI, he said.
According to Guha, this cohort invests in growth assets rather than just looking to preserve their wealth. While it services clients with over $50 million in assets through dedicated managers in its family office business, the firm uses a mix of actual and what it refers to as ‘virtual’ relationship managers, who are available on video or phone or WhatsApp, to cater to its main group.
Guha considers competition in the industry to be “all-pervasive”. “It could be someone we are not even considering as competition currently, who could come and re-imagine wealth management completely,” Guha said. “For instance, it could be one of the large tech giants who have the brand and tech capabilities.”