Lloyds TSB Private Banking has made sweeping changes to its top management line-up in Geneva and London. It comes only weeks after turmoil at the bank’s large operations in Geneva saw a number of staff depart.
Its international wealth management and private banking businesses are being consolidated under a single managing director, Russell Galley.
Piero Grandi, who ran the Geneva-based global high net worth (HNW) operations as managing director, has been moved from this role.
Switzerland remains Lloyds largest base
Switzerland remains the leadership location of the new international wealth business, reflecting the fact that Lloyds Geneva is the driving force behind the British bank’s global private banking operations, particularly investment management. Out of a global workforce of more than 850, some 400 work for the private bank in Geneva.
At the same time, a domestic division, UK Wealth, is being created and will be headed by Philip Grant.
This combines the UK Private Bank and UK global HNW business. Grant previously led the UK Private Banking business.
After the shake-up, Grandi will now play an “important role” supporting the business during the planned transition, particularly with regard to supporting relationships with clients and regulators, and working with Russell Galley, Lloyds stated.
He will continue to report to group director, Antonio Lorenzo, the bank added, without stating what future position he would hold.
Grandi became head of Lloyds in Geneva in 2008, after previously working for American Express Bank and Citigroup. His reign had proved controversial in recent months. After a combination of firings and resignations in Geneva, about 25 staff departed the bank in April.
Staff disruption unsettles operations
Lloyds is understood to have dismissed some 15 staff from its trust and banking departments in Geneva, firings which resulted in 10 more personnel, including senior investment specialists, deciding to hand in their notice.
A number of these quickly moved to rivals. Barclays Wealth recruited five bankers from Lloyds to reinforce its Geneva-based international private banking division.
Mike Ferguson joined as a managing director. Sylvie Orsatti, Sana Al-Habal, Philippe Sala and Fawziyah Khazal all joined as director-level private bankers.
Elsewhere, Urs Emmenegger, head of strategic development for Lloyds in Geneva, is joining Clariden Leu to head a new combined business operation for the Swiss bank.
It is not entirely clear what caused such staff disruption in Geneva, apart from moves to cut staff costs. However, some staff have been critical of a decision to move part of the bank’s operations to Nyon, a small town on the shores of Lake Geneva, 24 kilometres from the city.
The new purpose-built premises at Nyon are considered by Lloyds TSB management to offer better working conditions for staff, but some personnel said the new location would be inconvenient.
Simplification behind shake-up
Explaining the latest shake-up in senior ranks, Lloyds said the new structure would give the private bank new focus and simplified the business.
The International Wealth operation will cater for all of Lloyds’ wealth customer segments internationally: mass affluent, HNW and ultra HNW.
Nonetheless, the appointment of new head Russell Galley caused some raised eyebrows, as he has largely had experience in retail and mortgage banking rather than classic private banking.
Most recently he was managing director of Savings Investment and Protection for Lloyds Banking Group; leading the UK’s biggest savings institution, with deposits of more than £200bn ($323bn) and the UK’s largest bancassurance business.
With previous experience as managing director of the UK’s largest unsecured lending portfolio and a £300bn mortgage portfolio; he has extensive product expertise, Lloyds stressed.
“I believe that we have a unique opportunity to deliver an outstanding international wealth and private banking business and I am really looking forward to leading it,’’ Galley said in a statement.
“We remain absolutely committed to delivering for our customers by ensuring that they remain the focus of everything we do,” he added.