The nominees for Asian Private Banker’s Private Banker of the Year are naturally some of the finest practitioners of the art and craft of private banking. They are all, without exception, industry stalwarts recognised for their depth of experience, breadth of industry expertise, and the loyalty they inspire in clients and colleagues alike. A handful of these exceptional women and men – the best of the best – have distinguished themselves on all three counts.In our search for these outstanding representatives, Asian Private Banker reached out to stakeholders across the industry – private bankers, product providers, veteran bankers, as well as clients. Interestingly, these conversations yielded a far greater number of nominees who sit at the helms of pure-play private banks in comparison to the previous year.
A preponderance of respondents, however, believed that Rajesh Malkani, Head of Private Bank – East, Standard Chartered Private Bank, is the most deserving recipient of this year’s Private Banker of the Year award; and Asian Private Banker agrees.
Charged with crafting the private banking strategy at a bank known for its commercial and retail operations, Rajesh embodies those qualities which make an industry leader. Indeed, his agile decision making and clear guidance – both patently “needs of the hour”, not only for Standard Chartered Private Bank, but for the industry as a whole – cement Rajesh as 2012’s exemplary private banker.
Rajesh joined Standard Chartered in 2006 but it is his work during the last couple of years – detailing and executing its private banking strategy, making marquee hires, honing its market segmentation and product offering – that has brought him the most accolades. Rajesh’s calibrated staffing policy and his decision to sit out the bidding war for talent, currently underway at a number of competitors, were also cited by those we talked to.
Yet 2012 was far from an easy year for both the private banking industry and Standard Chartered in particular. That Rajesh’s peers refer to Standard Chartered’s private banking franchise in Asia as an “increasingly meaningful competitor” is testament to both the solid foundation he has built and the bank’s long-term commitment to the region. At the helm of a relatively young private banking operation, Rajesh has been able to demonstrate, not just his flair for leadership, but crucially, his intrinsic understanding of what it takes to succeed.
As one client remarked, “Rajesh strips the bells and whistles and performs on core deliverables – solutions, products. He is as likely to take a meeting at a Starbucks as long as he is absolutely sure he is adding value”. In these transformative times, this single-minded focus on the essentials is an attribute many would do well to aspire towards.