Director, Citi Private Bank



In the business

8 years

Minimum assets

$25 million

Book size

more than $400 million

Disperse risk

Some clients need funds that seek bond-like returns through hedges and arbitrage. Others want funds that display low-to-negative correlation to traditional asset classes that are often long volatility, such as hedge funds that trade currencies, commodities or interest rates.

We also seek direct investments in commercial, multi-residential and retail buildings through third-party managers, such as a U.S. distressed real estate fund. We don’t include REIT, as their risk characteristics are similar to small-cap equities.

We sometimes earmark 5% for clients with higher risk appetites to pick stocks or invest in potentially higher-return trades, such as options linked to FX or interest rates.

Dating game

Courtship with a prospect can span more than two years. I started wooing some in 2007 when they were bullish and disinterested. Whenever we had new research, I’d share it. If a fund manager visited, I’d invite them. A year later, the market collapsed. Some of those prospects were invested in funds we’d warned against. I gained 10 clients during the recession’s peak.

I also develop an early rapport with clients’ kids. I recently took some to a Beyoncé concert. We also run a one-week program where children hear about investing, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. It’s been held in New York, London and Singapore.

Low-key wealth

Most of my clients are put off by obscene wealth displays. They appreciate that I drive a Miata, not a Ferrari. But we still pamper them. We’re hosting an event at the Guggenheim Museum, where artist Jeff Koons will speak. We sponsor the Tavistock Cup, where clients walk with Tiger Woods and dine with golfing greats.

But loyalty ultimately depends on service. I speak with clients daily if we’re financing a transaction or if they want to trade FX, interest rates or equities. We can also finance Picasso collections or set up trusts for family outside Canada.

Kanupriya Vashisht is a Toronto-based financial writer.