Awards for Distinction 2011 – South Korea


APB-AFD-BestPrivateBankSouthKorea

Citi Private Bank

BK Jung

BK Jung

Head of South Korea
Citi Private Bank

South Korea has proven to be an increasingly important market for private banks in Asia – according to one industry estimate, South Korea is among the top 20 contributors of growth in global wealth, contributing US$421 billion to total global wealth in the first half of 2011. Home to 217,000 millionaires, the country is expected to experience a period of uninterrupted growth over the next couple of years with a resultant doubling in its rank of millionaires, ensuring it is a priority market for all private banks in the region.

Korea’s cautious regulatory environment forces banks who want to participate in this market to invest greatly in terms of both time and resources to develop a true understanding of the local market and the scope it offers. This year’s award for distinction, Citi Private Bank celebrated its 44th anniversary in Korea last year, reflecting its deep roots and strong commitment to the region and setting it apart from the plethora of local and foreign banks now crying for a slice of this lucrative wealth management market. In fact, Citi is regarded by many as the first financial institution to introduce private banking services in Korea as far back as 1991.

Since then the bank has built a strong network amongst Korea’s wealthy – at present there are 169 Citigold and Citigold Private Client centers and more than 230 Citigold executives and private bankers serving Korean high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals.

BK Jung, Citi Private Bank’s head of South Korea since 2009, is understandably very optimistic about the future of Citi’s private banking business in the region. “I think the most important part of the private banking business is human resources and Citi Korea has recently recruited a number of top talents in the industry with diverse experience,” he avers. “Traditionally, banks in Korea train and raise talents internally, so this approach is a new way Citi is trying to strengthen its human resources. Additionally, Citi is planning on establishing new private banking centers in key areas of HNWIs to provide easier access to prospects in the retail banking business. We expect new branches could eventually expand our business presence while serving customers with better accessibility.”