Indian financial services firm Edelweiss Capital plans to hire hundreds of relationship managers to boost its wealth management business as it sees growing demand from India's wealthy to invest for the long-term.
Edelweiss said it expects retail broking as well as wealth management to contribute to 30-40 percent of the group's overall business in four to five years, from 18-20 percent after the completion of its purchase of retail broker Anagram.
Its ambitious plan is a sign of how homegrown wealth managers in India are putting the pressure on their Western rivals, as the fight for clients' wallets in the world's second-fastest growing market for millionaires after China intensifies.
"It's still an emerging opportunity, but a large part of the high networth market is shifting from brokerage to integrated private banking and wealth management services," Rashesh Shah, chairman of Edelweiss Capital, told Reuters in an interview in Singapore on Tuesday.
To drive this diversification from investment banking to wealth management, the Indian firm aims to boost its number of relationship managers that serves the high networth market in India to 400-500 in four to five years from 65 now.
"Eight to 10 years ago, a high networth individual, all he or she wanted to do was to invest in the markets. Now they want allocations across mutual funds, real estate and alternative assets," Shah said.
Edelweiss estimates that there are half a million people in India who have at least $500,000 assets each to invest and that market is growing rapidly, which will increase demand for other services as well such as estate planning and family offices.
"The challenge in the entire private banking and wealth management space is not the opportunity, it is the supply. There are not many quality relationship managers and product managers who can cater to this demand."
Shah said he may also hire experienced bankers as well as people from the capital markets and fresh university graduates who could be trained to work as relationship managers.
Recently Edelweiss hired Anshu Kapoor, head of the wealth unit from HSBC in India, to help build its wealth management business.
Shah said the industry may need 30,000 to 40,000 relationship managers over the next four to five years in India, whereas currently the industry has only 500 to 600 good quality managers against current demand of 3,000-4,000 managers.