Indian financial services firms lap up high-profile exits from MNCs

The flight of talent can be attributed largely to entrepreneurial opportunities, say experts


Indian financial institutions are gearing up with more recruitments. Photo: iStockphoto
Indian financial institutions are gearing up with more recruitments. Photo: iStockphoto

Mumbai: With multinational financial services firms are downsizing Indian operations, Indian financial services firms are making most of the opportunity by filling their top-deck with senior executives who have left behind their highly paid positions at MNCs and making a comeback to the homeland. Global firms such as CitiBank, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank have seen an exodus of Indian executives at global offices in the last several months.

In one of the prominent changes, Ranjan Ghosh, managing director and global head of banks, financial institutions group at Standard Charted Bank, moved from its Singapore office and joined Centrum Financial Services Ltd as its managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) in August. Ghosh’s movement took place four months after Jaspal Bindra, ex-Asia Pacific CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, joined Centrum Group as its chairman along with acquiring a minority stake.

The flight of talent can be attributed largely to entrepreneurial opportunities, said experts.

“Attractive business building or entrepreneurial opportunities in India, allowing them to leverage their experience and the freedom/ownership to build new businesses/scale up nascent businesses,” said Anjali Forbes, senior partner, executive search firm Transearch India, as one of the reasons for the comeback of senior executives.

Global finance major CitiBank has seen several exits of top-level Indians this year.

In May, K. Balasubramanian, former managing director, global banking - India at CitiBank, joined as group head - corporate bank at HDFC Bank Ltd. Private sector lender RBL Bank Ltd (formerly Ratnakar Bank) is in talks to hire Vincent Valladares, the head of CitiBank’s commercial banking division in the Middle East, to lead RBL’s commercial banking operations in India, Mint reported last Friday.

“Most senior bankers at MNCs have seen their friends and peers at local financial services firms build wealth through employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) plus draw similar annual compensation. This added with the declining interest of MNCs firms in India wherein many have shut shop or slowed down is making these professionals seek long-term stability in Indian firms,” said Mukesh Bhasin, partner at domestic executive search firm Career Connect India.

As part of expanding into newer areas, Indian financial institutions are gearing up with more hiring. In May, Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd hired Randhir Singh, former managing director - capital market & treasury solutions, Deutsche Bank India unit, as head of structured finance at Edelweiss.

“For some mid to later stage career professionals, we also see that people want to be part of building businesses that have a larger purpose, while offering a professional working environment. We have seen some movement from MNCs to the microfinance sector/small finance,” Forbes said.

Shantanu Ambedkar, managing director and head of private banking, HSBC India, joined Janalakshmi Financial Services Ltd in July as head of treasury and capital markets, after 21 years at HSBC. Last year, Anthony Heredia, former managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, joined as CEO at Baroda Pioneer MF.

Besides, several multinational banks have reduced their presence by shutting various divisions of operations in the region. The UK-based Barclays Plc. is shutting down its cash equities division in India, and will cut 1,000 jobs worldwide by exiting several Asian countries. Similarly, Standard Chartered Plc. shut its equities business, including cash equities, equity research and equity capital operations, in India last year.

In May, another UK-based bank HSBC Holdings Plc. decided to halve the number of branches in India to 26 from the current 50 and turn its focus to retail banking through digital channels.

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