Citi has made a senior level hire for its global wealth management business, bringing on board Nigel Sze from Barclays Global Wealth to head investments for Asia-Pacific.

Based in Hong Kong, Sze will look after investment strategy, capital markets, structured products, discretionary investments and portfolio counselling for Citi private bank and Citi Smith Barney businesses. He will report to Kaven Leung, chief executive officer of Citi Global Wealth Management Asia-Pacific.

In markets such as China, India and South Korea, high-net-worth clients are looking for more sophisticated wealth management solutions and advice on how to expand personal and business wealth, in line with the booming economies.

ôTo increase our share of the wallet of our clients, we must be able to compete effectively on the local currency platform, not just the global platform,ö says a spokesman at Citi Global Wealth Management. ôAt the local level, we continue to invest and grow our local currency capability by tapping into the vast resources of Citi and the Citibank consumer bank.ö

Sze brings extensive experience in private banking from across several firms to his new job. Aside from his most recent position as CEO of Barclays International and Private Banking for Asia within the bankÆs global wealth division, Sze has also worked at Morgan Stanley as executive director of the private clients division and as head of American Express private bank in Hong Kong. He started his private banking career with Citibank in 1986.

Citi offers wealth management services to clients that have a minimum net worth of $10 million. Citi Smith Barney offers financial planning services, leveraging its brokerage platform, to high-net-worth clients.

Sze takes over from Samir Raslan who is now head of central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa for Citi Global Wealth Management.

ôA robust investments platform is paramount when serving our high-net-worth clients as they tend to be more sophisticated, better informed and also demand a higher level of service quality when it comes to managing their assets,ö explains CitiÆs Leung in a written statement.

Asia is the fastest growing region worldwide for private banking and all banks are strengthening their Asia teams to win more business in this lucrative area. The industry has been witnessing a high amount of churn as bankers take a call on who they think will be dominant in the future. SzeÆs decision reflects that he is placing his bets on Citi.