Frances A. Sevilla-Sacasa's wealthy clients expect certain results in an increasingly uncertain world. As president of Latin America and Europe for Citigroup Private Bank, she leads a worldwide team that manages the assets of 25,000 of the world's richest families. "The new 'normal' state of investing is constant volatility, which requires a much greater attention to global events than ever before," she says.
Ms. Sevilla-Sacasa holds an MBA from the prestigious American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), and in November 2003 she received a distinguished alumni award for her contributions to the field of banking and finance. Prior to joining Citigroup, she was managing director of Deutsche Bank's Latin American Private Banking Division and later became president of
Bankers Trust International Private Banking Corp.
When she signed on at Citigroup's Miami office, she was initially in charge of the southeast region of the U.S., then she took over Latin America, and in April 2003 she received a promotion that places her in charge of both Latin America and Europe. The promotion makes Ms. Sevilla-Sacasa one of the highest-ranking Hispanic women in Citigroup.
"The Citigroup Private Bank has achieved record earnings in each of the past three years with an average annual growth rate of 19 percent. Despite the challenges on the social, political and economic fronts in Latin America, Frances and her team delivered strong results. This has been a key ingredient in the Private Bank's success," says Peter K. Scaturro, CEO of Citigroup Private Bank. "We are confident that by expanding Frances' responsibilities to include Europe, we will better be able to leverage the strengths of Citigroup in this important region. She has proven leadership skills and extensive knowledge of investments in Europe and globally."
She says that cultural sensitivity and vigilant communication with her clients and her employees are key elements of her success. "My team understands they are my number one resource, and we work toward the same goals," she says. "There are various singular aspects to our industry. The first is the uniqueness of our clients. Each family is different, with their own unique needs and objectives. I think that caring, listening, acting with integrity and keeping an open mind works for me in both my personal and professional life. I've found that these four traits serve me well to get the most out of being a mother, a wife, and a leader in my chosen career," she says. "I believe in having a clear vision of what I want to accomplish, hiring the best people I can find, providing them with the tools they need and then empowering them to act."
Citigroup Private Bank operates 126 offices in 37 countries, and the total value of assets under management in 2003 was $33 billion, an increase of $2 billion over 2002. Net income of $551 million in 2003 was up $88 million, a 19 percent increase, from 2002.
Although private bank clients have enough wealth to ride out minor financial bumps, the war in Iraq and economic crises in Latin America have forced private bankers to get more creative about how they manage risk and preserve wealth over the long term. Citigroup was one of the first to offer seminars on "brat proofing" and "the intersection of love and money" and advice on how to structure philanthropic portfolios. They also offer assistance with the management of art collections, sometimes providing loans that use high-dollar art pieces as collateral.
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