2018 Winners – Distinction
COO OF THE YEAR
A thankless task, some might say, but Nemali has set about establishing a solid foundation for the private bank to grow in a manner that is both systematic and logical, producing demonstrable results on schedule.
The ‘Protect’ phase of Deutsche Bank Wealth Management’s regional strategy involved insulating the business from major risks amid tectonic shifts in the regulatory landscape. Under Nemali’s watch, the private bank made a point of being first in the region to achieve CRS compliance on the basis that compliance itself is conducive to sustainable growth, with every single relationship manager being provided with country manuals on cross-border rules. Furthermore, the private bank prioritised MiFID II compliance given its exposure to Europe, contracting a major consultancy to provide analysis and recommendations on how to achieve this.
At the same time, Nemali has pursued an ambitious but necessary digitalisation plan as part of Deutsche Bank Wealth Management’s ‘Transform’ phase. After rolling out a laundry list of tech-related initiatives in 2017, the private bank homed in on a few key priority areas amid a major hiring drive in the region. These included client onboarding processes which have been revamped given that an onslaught of new hires could lead to congestion in the KYC and account opening stage. In partnership with a third party, the bank has made significant progress in reducing onboarding times, leading to greater efficiency and higher client satisfaction. Plans are now afoot to both integrate AI into client screening and streamline and automate the information-gathering process for clients and prospects.
Meanwhile, Nemali, working in lockstep with Yim, was able to secure a major chunk of a €65 million injection from global into client-focused technology, in the process receiving the go-ahead to set up an innovation lab in Singapore. Opened in November, the lab is intended to pursue collaborations with regional fintech startups to the benefit of the lender’s global wealth business. That Deutsche Bank chose Asia as the site of its latest innovation hub is surely credit to the importance it places on the region and the esteem with which Nemali is held.
Sudhir Nemali is Asian Private Banker’s COO of the Year for 2018.