India’s wealth is too big to ignore
Private banks that fled India in the 2010s are returning in force. Those that never left are frantically hiring. With a fast-growing economy creating a lot of new wealth across every sector, India is once again the toast of wealth managers.
Private banking in India has long been a bit of a hokey-cokey business. Global wealth managers were either all in or all out; rarely was there much in between.
In the 2000s, US and European lenders, attracted by a series of financially liberal governments and the rapid creation of new wealth, rushed to get licences to offer services to a growing army of privately wealthy clients.
Then, in the 2010s, many reversed course. Morgan Stanley, RBS and UBS exited onshore private banking. So too, after some prevarication, did BNP Paribas. In 2016, HSBC closed its private bank and diverted clients into its HSBC Premier platform for mass-affluents.
Many reasons were offered by departing institutions. Some had to scale back in the wake of the global financial crisis to focus on core markets. Others cited a heavy-handed regulator, strict capital controls or the challenge of getting freshly minted millionaires and billionaires to pay for financial advice.