In a move that strengthens Deutsche Bank's private banking franchise in the region, the German bank has appointed Ajay Bagga, the former chief executive of Lotus India Asset Management, as head of its Indian private wealth management business.

Bagga, who started at Deutsche on Wednesday, left Lotus late last year after the money manager was sold to India's Religare Enterprises, part of the Ranbaxy group. He has more than 20 years of experience in financial services. Bagga started his career at Citi and moved into the funds management industry with Pioneer. Before he joined Lotus he was CEO of Kotak Mahindra AMC.

Bagga replaces Nikhil Kapadia who is moving to Singapore where he will be chief operating officer and in charge of business development for Deutsche Bank's private wealth management onshore businesses in Asia. Deutsche Bank officials say Kapadia did such a good job building the onshore business in India, they want to see him replicate the effort in other countries throughout the region.

Deutsche Bank has onshore private banking businesses in nine Asian countries and 15 businesses overall.

Asia, in general, and India specifically, is a key market for private banking businesses. The assets of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in Asia-Pacific are forecast to grow at an annual rate of 7.9% to reach $13.9 trillion by 2012, according to a Merrill Lynch and Capgemini report. The number of HNWIs in India rose 22.7% to 123,000 in 2007, which was the fastest pace of growth in the world.

Merrill Lynch defines HNWIs as those with net assets of at least $1 million (excluding primary residences and consumables).