Barclays Wealth’s recently installed North Asia head, Pakorn Boonyakurkul, has set out an ambitious growth agenda as the firm seeks to double Asia AUM to over $50 billion by 2014.
Boonyakurkul, who took up his role this May after quitting HSBC Private Bank, has been hired to accelerate Greater China growth for the private banking arm of the UK’s Barclays bank. He replaced Joanna Chu, who was re-assigned to market head and country head for Hong Kong.
As reported by AsianInvestor, his team is set to be bolstered next month by the appointment of Januar Tjandra as head of Greater China. Tjandra had worked at Goldman Sachs since the mid-1990s and most recently catered to Taiwanese clients offshore from Hong Kong.
At a media briefing last week, Boonyakurkul confirmed that Barclays Wealth wanted to increase the number of private bankers it has by 50% in Hong Kong and Singapore by the end of 2012. That would mean adding 50 more bankers, since it is understood to have around 100 at present.
The firm manages £170 billion ($268 billion) in assets globally, of which Asia accounts for about 10%, sources confirm. If Barclays Wealth meets its growth target, it would see its Asia AUM swell to around $53 billion by the end of 2014.
What Boonyakurkul has his eye on is China’s rising number of newly wealthy entrepreneurs, whom he hopes to tap via a combination of wealth management and financial business solutions. It is a segment that Barclays Wealth recently produced interesting research on.
“We provide clients with a private investment bank model, with our private bankers representing a single point of entry for them to draw on the capabilities of Barclays Group,” he says, noting the bank provides capital-raising, access to sector specialists and institutional trading platforms.
Boonyakurkul states that Barclays Wealth has boosted its offering for the ultra-high-net-worth segment over the last two years in credit, derivatives, foreign exchange and trust structuring.
He describes China’s burgeoning wealth market as attractive but difficult, and suggests that combining in-house divisional capabilities makes it easier to unlock business opportunities.
He concedes that Barclays Wealth is still a start-up in Asia and says he is targeting senior bankers to drive “high-end” business. “We are like an open canvas to be painted,” he notes.
He is eager to attract ultra-high-net-worth individuals with over $100 million in net worth and at least $20 million in business investment. Targeting such wealthy clients makes the bank’s offshore wealth management strategy workable and sustainable, says Boonyakurkul.
He notes that Chinese high-end clients are the first generation in the country to expand their businesses globally, meaning the bank does not need to head onshore to find them.