WHOLESALE BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Meet Citi's new global subsidiaries group head for Asia Pacific

Find out how Munir Nanji plans to leverage the growth in intra-Asia trade.

Early this month, Citi announced the appointment of Munir Nanji as Global Subsidiaries Group (GSG) Head for Asia Pacific, effective immediately. He will be based in Singapore and will report to Gerald Keefe, Head of Corporate Banking Asia Pacific and Marc Merlino, Global Head of GSG.

According to the bank, the GSG business supports the subsidiaries of Citi’s multinational clients around the world across institutional banking. 

Munir has 25 years of international banking experience, and he held leadership positions globally in corporate banking, product management, relationship, and risk management. He joined Citi as a Management Associate in Kenya in 1992, and has worked in Nigeria, Poland, Italy, Romania and the UK, prior to his current role in Hong Kong as the Regional Sales and Marketing Head for Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) for Asia Pacific.

In an exclusive interview with Asian Banking and Finance, Munir reveals his plans and key philosophies:

What makes you excited about your new position?
The Global Subsidiaries Group (GSG) is one of Citi’s fastest growing businesses banking the subsidiaries of some of our largest multi-national clients [MNCs]. Asia Pacific is core to further growth in the GSG with a presence across 16 markets in the region.

This region is already large for Citi – it accounts for around a quarter of Citi’s global revenues at over US$13b annually and is the largest region for Citi globally.
As we pivot to capture further growth in Asia the GSG franchise has an important role to play in supporting our clients not only across Asia but also globally in the close to 100 countries we operate in.

There is also tremendous growth upside in the business. Asia today makes up a significant portion of MNCs’ sales underpinned by the fact two-thirds of the world’s population live in Asia. Asia’s contribution to GDP is already significant and rising with a relatively young and tech savvy population. With growth at between 5% and 6%, Asia is a key battleground for companies to grow to capture the rise of the Asian consumer and their increased spending power.

On the corporate side similar trends prevail with the continued rise of Asian global champions making their mark not only in their domestic market and regionally but also globally. In the recent Forbes annual world’s largest companies’ survey, Asia Pacific was the fastest growing region and over 250 companies from China and Hong Kong making the list. Citi banks 95% of the Fortune 500 in Asia.

We are also excited by the growth in intra-Asia trade with increasing trade between Asian nations and the opportunities that brings across Asian trade corridors where we are already well positioned. We are already seeing significant investments by China into Asean, Korea into Vietnam and the historic ties Japan has had with Asia becoming stronger. All across Asia trade corridors are growing – 85% of trade never touches US borders. We have also opened Asia desks across the world to support our Asian corporate champions.

US and European MNCs continue to target Asia for growth and our priority is to make sure we are in the middle of these flows. We have a presence across Asia that dates back over a hundred years with a strong on the ground presence and Citi is the best positioned global bank to connect Asia to Asia and the world to Asia and vice versa.

What three goals are you focused on?
Our institutional business is focused on increasing our wallet share penetration of our target clients by increasing the connectivity between our key businesses and tapping new growth. The GSG business has a key role to play in that.

Another goal is to build on our strong momentum and capture further that Asia to Asia business where we see a surge in flows with the Asia champions doing much more across Asia.

A priority is also building further our work with regional MNCs who have a treasury and finance presence in Asia where they manage their foreign exchange, risk management, liquidity and capital. These MNCs are some of the largest global companies who have a very significant size of their business in Asia.

What will you do differently in this position?
We want to ensure we are the first call and the trusted advisor with all our clients so we need to make sure we are offering the right content, data and thought leadership. With a global network Citi is the best placed global bank with the full product set to bank these clients and the key priority is further monetizing these competitive advantages.

To achieve this we need to increase both the quality and frequency of the dialogue to ensure we are offering clients the full access to our platform and opportunities we can offer them to support their growth. We will also continue to invest in key talent to make sure we have the best team on the field.

What changes are you planning for and what key business philosophy guide you?
I plan to listen and learn more about what our team thinks needs to be done differently or better to improve.

Success is a team effort and you need to learn from what makes success and also from your failures and be humble – listen and learn from your clients. I am also a firmer believer that once you are content then you are finished. There is always more you can be doing and I will be challenging the team to be the best in all we do.

What previous positions prepared you for this one and how?
My background is running large institutional businesses and supporting MNCs with their business needs running large P&Ls across banking. I have worked with a broad range of MNCs during my time and for the last seven years I was Asia Sales Head for Citi in Treasury and Trade Solutions with Citi. This has given me a good understanding of what clients need and expect from their bank and also working through different economic scenarios across developed and developing markets. I hope to put all I have learnt into this new exciting role which is really at the centre of our growth plans in Asia.

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