LGT is the family office of the Princely House of Liechtenstein. If this sounds small, bear in mind that it has over 1,700 employees and $91bn in assets under management. It’s moved into the Middle East with a new office in the Dubai International Finance Centre opened in July 2012.
As Mannan Adenwalla, CEO of its Middle East operations, explains, the firm is hiring. He joined the bank this year from Clariden Leu, where he ran the firm’s DIFC office for six years. Before that he worked for ABN Amro and Standard Chartered in Dubai. Adenwalla holds a Batchelors degree from Sydenham College in Bombay, India.
LGT says it wants to grow in the Middle East. Can you give us an idea of your plans?
We have been licensed in Dubai under the DIFC to operate an office that will offer advisory and execution-only transactions for private clients. Our long-term plans for the operation in Dubai are to build a strong team of approximately 40 employees over the next couple years. The focus segments will be the Indian subcontinent diaspora and the Middle East with market coverage to encompass the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and Africa.
Competition for wealth managers in the Middle East is tough, how is LGT tackling this?
LGT Group has a unique global position as an owner-managed private bank. Our services are generating a great deal of interest in the Middle East. With a strong local presence, we can now make our innovative investment solutions more accessible to new client groups. The present team is well experienced in the region and has strong roots in the private banking community.
Our focus will be to attract good seasoned bankers on the basis of the excellent reputation that LGT and its team in Dubai enjoy.
Can you tell us the sort of people you’re interested in hiring?
Our focus will be to attract good seasoned bankers on the basis of the excellent reputation that LGT and its team in Dubai enjoy. We are looking for professionals who believe in or have similar values as LGT. These bankers should have been in the business for at least five to ten years and have demonstrated their abilities servicing our target client segments.
Why are so many international wealth managers building their teams in the Middle East?
Dubai has become an important regional hub to coverage the GCC and the Indian subcontinent. Additionally, it is identified as the gateway to Africa. Due to its strategic location advantage, strong connectivity and social environment, it is attractive as a hub for many institutions to set up offices. Also, the jurisdiction DIFC has grown in importance as a reputed financial centre and is known for its strong regulatory environment.
How did you break in the financial sector? Any advice for those looking to do so?
I have been in the financial industry for almost 30 years of which 25 years have been in Dubai. The key to being a successful banker is commitment, perseverance and a long-term focus on relationships.
Has your career been conventional or capricious?
My career has been enjoyable and I like to work in a corporate environment that is jovial and, as much as possible, free of politics.
What three things would you advise someone to do before stepping into an interview with you?
Be truthful, realistic in your projections and yourself.
What would you have done if you weren’t working in finance?
I was keen to join the tourism industry. I believe I am a people’s person and that asset is key in both industries, finance and hospitality.
What do you do to relax?
I love to run. It gives me my time away from all worldly matters.