As part of its effort to reorganise its business and focus more on wealth clients, Citi has appointed Jane Fraser as CEO of Citi private bank and Deepak Sharma as chairman of the same division, according to an internal memo that FinanceAsia has seen.  

Fraser, who has been working as the global head of strategy and M&A, joined Citi in 2004 as head of client strategy and management for the global banking division. Prior to joining Citi, she was a Partner at McKinsey & Company in London and New York for 10 years, serving clients primarily in the financial services industry.  

Fraser will work in tandem with Sharma, who most recently was CEO of Citi global wealth management international and is also a member of Citi's senior leadership committee. Sharma's 32-year career at Citi has spanned different functions, including management positions in operations and technology, treasury, strategic planning, electronic banking, Citi private bank, and investment management. He has also worked across geographies -- from India and Korea to Saudi Arabia and the US.

Sharma will continue to be based in Singapore. Fraser, who will be taking over her new role in June, presently splits her time between London and New York. 

"We look forward to growing and deepening relationships with our high-net-worth clients globally who demand trusted, objective advice and solutions for their wealth management needs," says Sharma. "The volatility in markets in recent times has raised the ante on quality advice and solutions that are driven by intellectual insights. We aim to continue building on our intellectual platform so as to extend our status as the preferred wealth management partner of our clients."  

The appointments underscore Citi's efforts to focus more on its wealthy clients and move away from providing wealth management services to retail investors. In January Citi agreed to merge its Smith Barney brokerage with Morgan Stanley and it is also in the process of selling its Japanese brokerage unit, Nikko Cordial Securities.

Citi private bank has about 3,000 employees across 33 countries and serves 26,000 high-net-worth individuals and families (it defines HNWIs as clients with a net worth exceeding $10 million). As of the first quarter, Citi's private bank had $225 billion of assets under management globally, although the bank's wealth management revenues in Asia declined 29% during the quarter, which the bank said was because "market conditions continued to be challenging, leading to a significant decline in investments and capital markets revenues". These declines were higher than the 17% reduction in North America and the 26% decline in Europe, Middle East and Africa, but better than the 40% drop in Latin America.