Merrill Lynch has lured long-time Citigroup banker Rahul Malhotra to the firm in a newly created position. Effective 1 September, Malhorta will serve Merrill as managing director and head of global private client group (GPC) India.

From its Singapore offices, Malhotra will assume responsibility for GPCÆs onshore operation in India as well as its non-resident Indian (NRI) business. For the US bank, he will report dually to Raymundo Yu, chairman of Merrill Lynch Asia-Pacific region and head of Merrill Lynch GPC EMEA and Pacific regions and to Ausaf Abbas, chief administrative officer for its GPC EMEA Pacific and head of GPC for Middle East and India.

ôWe have an aggressive strategy to grow our GPC business in India over the next five years by hiring more financial advisors, targeting the affluent market and enhancing our offerings,ö says Abbas. ôAt the same time, we will expand our offshore business by targeting ultra-high net worth and high net worth non-resident Indians.ö

According to the joint Merrill Lynch/Capgemini 2006 World Wealth Report, India has one of the fastest growing high net worth individual population, with more than 83,000 dollar millionaires in the country at the end of 2005.

At Citi, Malhotra most recently led retail banking in Asia-Pacific. Prior to this role, he also held a number of senior positions at the same firm, including global head of non-resident Indian business in London and the Dubai-based role of area director for CitiÆs Middle East and non-resident Indian business.

He started his career with Citi in New Delhi and brings over 20 years of experience to Merrill.