Q&A: Wayne Yang, Managing Director, Citi's Private Bank

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"It is truly rewarding when you have satisfied the most demanding of individuals while competing against the best bankers in the industry."

How did your career path lead you to private wealth management?

I joined the old Chase Manhattan Bank in Hong Kong in 1989 as an internal auditor for the region and, after reviewing their private bank business, chose that as my career path. That led to a position at the Citi Private Bank, where I've been since 1990. Since starting as a service officer covering ultra high net worth individuals in Hong Kong, I've been a relationship manager for Philippine and Singaporean clients, and also a business manager for the Malaysian, Brunei, Indonesian and Australian wealth management operations. Since March 2006 I've been based in New York City, managing the Manhattan Region for Citi Private Bank.

What is your typical day like?

I work hard to recruit top talent in our industry, manage and help remove roadblocks for our private bankers and develop sales strategies that align with our client needs. Most importantly, I spend time with our clients to build relationships and assist them with meeting their wealth management objectives. There's also a fair amount of administration, as well covering regulatory requirements, performance management and problem resolution.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

It's consistently challenging to stay ahead of issues relevant to clients and remain ahead of our competition. Our clients are among the smartest and most successful individuals in the world. Meeting and surpassing their expectations encompasses an extraordinary amount of due diligence on wealth management developments, trends, research, financial engineering and, of course, making sure this expertise is broadly displayed by each of our client-facing staff.

What advice would you give to someone seeking to break into this area?

It's a great career for someone who enjoys the wide range of topics involved in wealth management. A private banker consistently deals with investment-related issues, such as balance sheet optimization and wealth distribution structuring in addition to the social aspects of wealth management, like advising on philanthropy, client hobbies and interests, and family dynamics. In addition, an important role for every private banker is the ability and willingness to be a confidant of their clients. Private banking is an extremely client-centric business, and can often be challenging given the high level of service expectation. But it is truly rewarding when you have satisfied the most demanding of individuals while competing against the best bankers in the industry.

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