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Wealth Managers Target Expat Indians
Friday, April 18, 2008

Banks and wealth managers are moving to target the 1.1 million expat Indians in the UK worth about £100 billion, who are becoming a growing investment force here and worldwide.

According to a survey by financial analysis group Datamonitor, 72% of European wealth managers polled described the non-resident Indian (NRI) client base as marginally to very attractive as an area to focus on.

Datamonitor claims that the perception of NRIs preferring to invest mainly in India has been over-emphasized, and that such investments only account for 15% to 25% of NRI investment portfolios.
The niche group is described as having strong interests in emerging markets, offshore funds and investments, real estate , as well as tax advisory and private equity investments.

There are estimated to be 6.2 million Indian people worth an estimated $500 billion living away from home, with almost 20% of the expat population based in the UK. 'Non-resident Indians are investing beyond their homeland and wealth managers report strong demand for offshore funds and developed market equity funds,' said Koelle Boyce, financial services analyst for Datamonitor. 'Much of the NRI wealth has been generated through entrepreneurial activity and, as a result, there is significant demand for business banking services, as well as investment banking, succession planning and estate planning services.'

The NRI demographic is being courted in the UK and overseas by groups such as DSP Merrill Lynch, Sociètè Gènèrale and ABN Amro, all of whom offer services such as specialist property investment, service portfolios and resource centres.

Wealth managers are pursuing strategies such as forming joint ventures with Indian firms and development or expansion of onshore operations in India. UK fund manager Fidelity recently entered into an alliance with Indian bank ICICI to distribute its offshore funds within India.



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