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India: A shortage of talent

India: the new jewel in the investment banking crown?

As global investment banks ramp up their businesses in India, one big challenge lies in finding the right people. It’s one thing talking about derivatives, structured finance or private equity, it’s another actually delivering these products if the talent is not there.

“What’s needed is quality bankers,” says Hemendra Kothari, chairman of DSP Merrill Lynch. By and large the bank likes to create expertise from within, but in areas where the Indian operation is lacking, such as structured finance, it can call on its bigger partner.

Others agree with Kothari’s assessment. “The local talent pool is scarce,” says Pramit Jhaveri, head of investment banking at Citigroup. One way the US bank is trying to circumnavigate the problem is by convincing experienced Indian expatriates back to their homeland. All banks are placing a heavy emphasis on training. Moreover, what talent there is can command a heavy price

In one sense it’s surprising that India lacks finance talent. The country has some outstanding training facilities, including the Indian School of Business, which has close links with the Wharton School and London Business School.

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