Mumbai: Morgan Stanley plans to hire 10-20 advisors at its Indian private bank arm over the next 12 months, an increase of up to 50%, as wealth managers scramble to expand in Asia’s third biggest economy.
Himanshu Bhagat and Amitava Neogi, both executive directors at the firm, said India’s economic rebound and a strong recovery in its share market since March 2009 was swelling the ranks of the rich and raising demand for wealth management services.
Global players such as Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, HSBC, Barclays and many local players have said they plan to hire hundreds of bankers between them to boost growth.
“The clients are getting happier with the market,” Bhagat told Reuters in an interview.
“There is a lot of wealth generation.”
India’s benchmark share index has more than doubled from a low hit in March 2009, while its economy in the latest quarter probably grew at its fastest pace since December 2007, according to a Reuters poll of 20 economists.
Bhagat said his firm had added about 700 clients in India between August and May, taking the total to nearly 1,000.
He did not give details of how much his firm manages in India but said assets under advisement had surged to “several thousand crores” of rupees from “several hundred crores” in August.
“This will continue for the next year or two. We are still a very new firm in terms of our private wealth business in India so penetration is still low,” Bhagat said.
The firm, which launched India private wealth operation in September 2008, has 40 relationship managers, including four recent hires from India Infoline.
Indian wealth managers are on a hiring spree in a bid to tap the growing number of rich in the country. Wealth managers in India typically target clients with investable assets of at least $1 million.
A buoyant stock market nearly doubled the number of billionaires in India to 52 in 2009 from 27 in the previous year, just two short of the record in 2007, according to the Forbes’ India Rich List in November.
The combined wealth of Asia-Pacific’s high net-worth individuals, or those with investable assets of over $1 million, would grow at an annual rate of 8.8% until 2018, according to Merrill Lynch-Capgemini.
The pace would be faster than the global average of 7.1%, with China and India likely to lead growth in Asia Pacific.