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National Australia Bank is turning heads in the
Australian wealth management market as it continues to hire senior
people and expand its UHNW offering. William Cain spoke to Angela
Mentis, head of the NAB private bank, about the recent appointments
and how the bank plans to move further upscale.

National Australia Bank (NAB), the largest wealth management
business in Australia, has strengthened its ultra high net worth
business with the appointment of Will Hamilton.

Hamilton, previously head of premium wealth services at Westpac
Private Bank, is the latest in a string of appointments at the
expanding NAB Private Wealth unit. Philip Kimball joined at the
start of the year to head up the bank’s investment strategy and
research capability, while Richard Nunn, the former head of private
banking at Commonwealth Bank, also joined NAB’s team in
April.

Hamilton has been appointed to head a new wealth services division
which will provide customised wealth advice and tailored investment
solutions to high and ultra high net worth (UHNW)
individuals.

“Will is highly regarded from his time at Westpac and will now be
driving wealth services within NAB Private Wealth,” said Angela
Mentis, head of the bank’s Private Wealth unit. “That’s exciting, I
think a lot of people are watching what we’re doing at NAB now, and
I think we have an opportunity to get it right.”

His appointment reflects a trend at Australian retail banks to push
their wealth offerings upscale as foreign institutions reconsider
or scale back their position in that market.

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“Traditionally, the domestic banks have been good at providing a
red carpet retail service and investment solutions,” said Mentis,
who recently won an industry award for thought leadership in
Australia. “We are trying to leverage all parts of the business and
pull together those capabilities. We hope to provide a holistic
wealth solution.”

The move to set up an UHNW unit follows a reorganisation which has
seen the bank’s private banking division, Private Wealth, moved
into its overall wealth business, called NAB Wealth and MLC.
Previously, it was part of private and institutional wealth, which
Mentis had said helped provide its UHNW clients with institutional
products. She said the new organisational structure would continue
to be conducive to serving ultra wealth clients.

In PBI’s Australia survey (see PBI 245), it was apparent that a
number of former investment bankers and product specialists had
been appointed as heads of private banking businesses at the
country’s banks.

Investment banking roles

Mentis held previous investment and private banking roles at
Macquarie, Westpac and BT Financial Group. Ed Tait, who recently
left Commonwealth, was a former investment banker at Macquarie, and
Catherine McDowell, at ANZ’s private bank, was also a former
investment banker.

But Mentis said the target was not just to fill the private bank
with investment bankers.

“What I personally feel is it is about connecting with our clients
and our people is really what differentiates us,” she said.

“We have brought lots of people in from investment banks and from
professional services, like lawyers. We have brought in people from
the likes of Coutts and also from Swiss private banks. As we deepen
our client knowledge, we can connect them with the right partner
within the bank. As you move up the wealth tree, those needs become
more complex and you need the right people from right across the
wealth spectrum to address those.”

Appointments - senior moves