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  1. Wealth
March 17, 2011

Citi head says banker-bashing making London untenable

By Spear's

David Poole, head of Citi Private Bank UK, told a wealth management conference today that ‘the popular habit of banker-bashing’ had continued for too long and that banks ‘have options to move elsewhere’

David Poole, head of Citi Private Bank UK, told a wealth management conference today that ‘the popular habit of banker-bashing’ had continued for too long and that banks ‘have options to move elsewhere’ if ‘the powers that be’ don’t recognise their importance.

In response to a question from Spear’s about the outspoken comments of politicians (Nick Clegg wants to wring bankers’ necks) and central bankers (banks exploit ‘gullible or unsuspecting’ customers, said Mervyn King), Poole said that ‘we all hope sense will out’ and remarked about the implications for London of global banks relocating.

One of the key points Poole emphasised in his talk at the CISI Private Wealth Management Conference was that Citi’s risk considerations have gone from 2D (markets and economic risk) to 4D by including climate and political risk. He cited the turmoil in North Africa as a validation of that strategy.

During his talk, Poole said that the financial services sector needed to present itself better: ‘We as an industry are either arrogant or stupid in not considering how we present and promote our brand. Our brand is trust and I don’t think we’ve done a very good job in preserving our trust over the past few years.’ But with innovations like a Citi iPad app and an Apple-store-like ‘Ubiquity Branch’ in Japan, where clients can manage their financial affairs in a high-tech setting, Citi was ‘keen to re-establish ourselves’, he said.

Describing Citi’s business, Poole defined a third category of HNW: $10-25m is HNW, $25-500m is UHNW and above $500m is ‘mega wealth’.

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