BNY Mellon has appointed Singapore-based Jai Arya to run a newly created sovereign institutions group, focused on sovereign wealth funds, big state pension funds, central banks and monetary authorities in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Arya has been with the bank for 24 years, serving in locations around Asia. He has built his career around client relations with institutional investors and corporations. For the past few years, he has served as head of client management in Asia-Pacific, a group focused on serving the largest, multi-product client relationships.

The new team is still being assembled and is an overlay, rather than a replacement, for this client-management function, says Arya. The bank already supports clients based on geography and product, and is now adding a third dimension: client segment.

“This tells our clients we want to know everything about their needs,” Arya says. “Nothing is broken; this is an improvement.”

BNY Mellon’s existing sovereign clients, as it defines them, have over $8 trillion of assets under management. “It’s a very big pool,” Arya says.

Much of his job is internal, helping BNY Mellon’s various teams – in global markets, asset management, asset servicing and client relations – to provide more comprehensive service to sovereign institutions.

Another key duty for Arya is to ensure clients of BNY Mellon’s asset services business are better informed about its asset management arms, and vice versa. “I’m there to deliver the whole firm,” he says.

BNY Mellon has over $1.1 trillion of assets under management worldwide, and $24.4 trillion of assets under custody and administration.

Internal reporting lines are still being determined, but Arya says the idea of the sovereign client group originated with his boss, Jim Palermo, US-based vice-chairman of BNY Mellon and CEO of global client management. Palermo has estimated that sovereign wealth fund assets should triple to $20 trillion by 2020, making this a more important client group for the firm.