Citigroup plans to nearly double Brazil-focused private-banking team

Citigroup plans to almost double the number of private bankers serving wealthy Brazilians over the next two years as competition for that business intensifies and tax-amnesty programs unlock hidden wealth, Bloomberg reports.

Citi Private Bank is aiming to add 10 bankers, bringing the team to 25, according to Cesar Chicayban, who runs the business in Brazil.

The company, which services 550 Brazilian families with at least $10m to invest with the firm, has hired five bankers in the past year in Sao Paulo and New York.

“We want to keep delivering for the next five years the same double-digit robust growth we had in the past two,” Chicayban said.

Citigroup sold its retail division in Brazil to Itau Unibanco in October for $175m, as part of chief executive Michael Corbat’s plan to cut costs and boost returns.

The private-banking business, not included in the deal, was restructured to eliminate services such as local bank accounts and credit cards.

“We’re now servicing a very exclusive group of people with global needs. We are almost a private-banking boutique,” Chicayban said. The New York-based company has operations in 98 countries, participating in all major markets, “and that has a cost,” he said.

However, Brazil is experiencing an exodus of high net worth individuals (HNWIs), as new figures show more than 2,000 dollar millionaires left the country over the 12 months to January.

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