Best for HNW in India 2023
Centrum Wealth has become a formidable force in India’s private banking circles since its launch in 2011. The wealth manager, which is part of financial services firm Centrum Group, now has assets under management of roughly $5 billion.
Its success is built on a few key ingredients: understanding the unique needs and aspirations of high net-worth individuals and families, and using a personalized approach to handle their wealth; delivering superior returns on investments; and putting in place a strong culture of compliance and risk management. And it helps that Centrum’s employees own roughly 30% of the firm, ensuring they have skin in the game when it comes to developing and expanding the business.
The franchise focuses on three sets of clients: the high net-worth; family offices and ultra-high net-worth; and treasury. This year, Centrum Wealth wins Asiamoney’s award for best private bank in India for high net-worth clients. Jaspal Bindra is executive chairman of parent Centrum Group.
Assets in the HNW segment at Centrum Wealth grew at a compound annual rate of 30% between the 2020 and 2022 financial years. Part of Centrum’s appeal is its open architecture product offering that provides a comprehensive stack of investment opportunities; it has 150 discretionary portfolios, 150 alternative investment funds and roughly 70 mutual funds.
Bankers at Centrum say relationship managers take a conservative approach to risk, and aim to create the right solutions for clients.
That tailored approach is paying off. Annuity income has more than doubled in the past two years, while revenues rose 77% in 2022 to about $23 million. More than half (57%) of Centrum’s clients are sourced through referrals, and three quarters of new clients are those in the wealth creation phase, showing potential for further growth in Centrum’s AUM in the long run.
On a net basis, clients made returns of about 20% through Centrum’s portfolio management offerings, versus a 14% return on the benchmark index.
Digital ramp-up and transformation have accelerated since Animesh Raizada took charge as chief operating officer at Centrum Wealth in April 2021. Raizada worked at HSBC in the previous 24 years, including as its head of wealth management for India.
Centrum has moved from prioritizing a stable back-end for client portfolios in 2021 to focusing on customer experience, engagement and personalization last year. It plans to increase its focus on data, analytics and digital tools to bolster its offerings, with an eye on using technology to target India’s booming mass affluent segment.