The rising Chinese economy and increased personal wealth are providing opportunities to financial institutions to address diversified investment demand in the country.
Leading global bank Citibank said the total size of China's individually possessed investable assets reached 188 trillion yuan ( trillion) in 2017, up fivefold from that of five years ago. The country has been the second largest individual asset market behind the United States since 2016.
Meanwhile, the potential of the Chinese market is big. As Citi estimated, the total middle class population in the country will reach 803 million by 2025, making up 86 percent of the urban population.
This finding echoes that of a Forbes survey released at the end of last year. The US business magazine wrote that the number of affluent Chinese households, with investable assets of between 1 million yuan and 5 million yuan, was 20.9 million in 2017. This number will exceed 30 million by 2020, leading to a global asset allocation demand worth 4 trillion yuan.
While Citi manages some 6 billion worth of assets in Asia Pacific, the bank has seen the total value of managed assets in China rise 13 percent last year on the back of a 9 percent increase in customers. Citi expects to see continued double-digit growth of its assets-under-management business in China in the next few years.
Regarding this growth momentum, Citi China plans to increase its relationship managers by 18 percent in 2018. In addition, on Tuesday, it launched a revamped Citigold service in China, which includes a digital advisory platform with comprehensive investment analytics under various stress test scenarios, access to many first or exclusively distributed qualified-domestic-institutional-investor funds and instant global fund transfers.
The Citigold segment in China caters to affluent clients with assets under management of 1 million yuan and more.
According to Darren Buckley, country business manager of Citi China, this comes in response to the continued rapid GDP growth in the country and the increasing number of globally minded affluent individuals. Their new services will help to address the increasing demand from high-net-worth individuals for diversified global asset allocation and international banking services.
In terms of the assets that Citi believes offer positive prospects for wealth management, Max Xu, head of retail banking, sales and distribution at Citi China, said that equity investment, especially equities in Europe, Japan and emerging markets, as well as overseas markets that have underperformed since the financial crisis, are their major targets this year.