Pro­mot­ing from within

New RMB Private Bank head il­lus­trates in­ner work­ings

Finweek English Edition - - Business strategy - BRUCE WHIT­FIELD brucew@fin­

RMB HAS AP­POINTED a young high flyer to look af­ter its wealth­i­est private clients. Sean Farrell (38) has been named head of RMB Private Bank – the FirstRand group’s elite of­fer­ing to its high net-worth clients.

Farrell’s pro­mo­tion frees found­ing CEO Wil­lie Miller to over­see top- end bank­ing and trust ser­vices for the group as head of FNB’s Wealth Seg­ment and Trust Ser­vices. He will also take over­all re­spon­si­bil­ity for RMB Private Bank. He is also seek­ing to in­crease syn­er­gies with the FirstRand group’s off­shore as­set man­ager, Ash­bur­ton, and var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional trust com­pa­nies it owns.

The moves fur­ther il­lus­trate the in­ner work­ings of the FirstRand group. It prefers pro­mot­ing its bright­est man­agers from within the or­gan­i­sa­tion and strives to de­velop ex­ec­u­tive tal­ent in­ter­nally. Un­til re­cently, Farrell served as chief f inan­cial off icer ( CFO) at FNB Wealth Seg­ment. He was pre­vi­ously CFO at fledg­ling private bank Ori­gin and re­tained the po­si­tion when Ori­gin and Ans­bacher merged in 2002 and were re­branded RMB Private Bank.

De­spite serv­ing sim­i­lar mar­kets, the group in­tends keep­ing its RMB Private Bank and FNB Wealth Seg­ment of­fer­ings sep­a­rate. RMB Private Bank has about 20 000 clients, most of whom it ac­quired or­gan­i­cally, while FNB has about 30 000 cus­tomers with a sim­i­lar profile, but who pre­fer be­ing able to use the group’s branch in­fra­struc­ture and who have a stronger affin­ity to the re­tail brand.

FNB’s re­tail com­peti­tors have their own branded private bank­ing di­vi­sions. By de­vel­op­ing a wealth seg­ment within the bank, the group is hop­ing to make the FNB brand more as­pi­ra­tional to clients.

Farrell says the group sees both di­vi­sions as hav­ing sig­nif­i­cant growth po­ten­tial. Most RMB Private Bank clients, he says, have ac­counts with more than one fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion. He says his key task is to up the num­ber of RMB Private Bank prod­ucts and ser­vices they use.

New en­ergy to ac­quire fresh clients. Sean Farrell

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