Attila Bánfi, managing director of OTP Global Markets.
In 2020, OTP Bank adopted a new approach to its regional strategy when it integrated its investment, markets (formerly treasury), advisory, private and prestige banking services at the group level. This initiative was launched as OTP Global Markets. Today, it is in charge of other OTP Group services, including securities origination, custody management, and discretionary portfolio management. It also has its own research department.
As a market innovation in a region defined as unified but with massive diversity between countries, OTP Global Markets is already proving to be remarkably successful.
Today, Global Markets has around 73,000 private banking clients in the region and manages more than EUR 9 billion worth of customer assets. OTP leads the way in Hungary with 24,000 private banking clients and managed assets of HUF 2.543 trillion.
Recently, OTP Global Markets announced it had been named “Best Private Bank in Hungary” for the ninth year in the Global Private Banking Awards presented by The Banker and Professional Wealth Management magazines. Its Ukrainian subsidiary was named “Best Private Bank in Ukraine” for the third time.
Global Finance magazine named OTP Private Banking “Best Private Bank of Central and Eastern Europe” for the first time in its annual Banks Awards for 2022. CKB, OTP’s Montenegrin subsidiary, won the “Best Private Bank in Montenegro” award.
Against this backdrop of continued growth, outstanding success in the region, and recognition from some of the world’s most respected institutions, I sat down with Attila Bánfi, managing director of OTP Global Markets, to discuss OTP Global Markets and its future. The MD has more than 20 years of professional experience in financial markets, investment services, and asset management.
BBJ: Could you tell me why the name change came about?
Attila Bánfi: OTP Group had become a major financial institution in Central and Eastern Europe, and we needed to make it clear that we’re a key financial service provider in the region and a regional player in wealth management and investment services. We also wanted to let our customers know they can access all the global markets and benefit from our financial solutions at the same time. We’re working hard to fulfill the promise our name suggests.
BBJ: Is the private banking sector growing in the region?
AB: Sure, it’s growing worldwide, not just in Hungary and the region.
BBJ: What is the vision of OTP Global Markets?
AB: To serve any customer from any location, regardless of where they are, with the same exceptional level of service. This is particularly game-changing for customers who are present in several countries because they have access to a single source for a complex set of services. I hope our efforts will help reach these goals and put us in the region’s top three within three years.
BBJ: How have customers and the industry responded to the launch of OTP Global Markets?
AB: The number of customers is constantly growing, and more and more of them like the fact that we’re with them from idea generation to transaction. We’re also expanding in our subsidiary banks, especially now that we’ve integrated our private bank and investment services. The feedback we’re getting is that customers and the industry are curious about where we go next.
BBJ: OTP Global Markets has recently received an impressive number of awards. How do you feel about that?
AB: Awards are important because they show you’re on the right track and give external validation. We are especially delighted that Global Finance magazine named OTP Private Banking “Best Private Bank of Central and Eastern Europe” for the first time this November. Apart from the feedback from our customers, these are important indicators for us.
BBJ: Do you feel there are characteristics that set OTP Global Markets apart within the Hungarian and regional markets?
AB: I would say we’re exceptionally strong when it comes to innovation and digitization. OTP Group is investing massively in digitization to support this. OTP Global Markets has innovation in its DNA, too, especially offering support to customers in one channel from idea generation to transaction. Basically, we have all the financial and capital market functions, investment services, and wealth management solutions that the bank can offer to its customers under one umbrella. Our experience also means we can provide excellent investment advice and customers can trust us.
BBJ: Do you have a five-year plan?
AB: Every aspect of banking is changing rapidly; just look at the market before and after COVID. As I said, digitization is a priority. This is connected to the need to offer customers unique solutions and truly personal relationship management. We’re also focusing on increasing standardization across the entire group. In addition, we’re agile and proactive, always looking for new solutions and creating innovations to take over the market.
BBJ: Why do you personally enjoy what you do?
AB: I like the feeling that I, and the 300 regional experts I work with, am part of something new that’s really innovative and creative but also backed by powerful business logic. It seems to work, so that’s very satisfying. I also appreciate how much support we get from the bank’s management and colleagues in other departments, along with local colleagues in the subsidiary banks.
BBJ: Most of all, what do you want customers to know about OTP Global Markets?
AB: That we listen to our customers and would like to have a long-term partnership with them. Whatever happens with the markets, we’ll always be there for them to offer the best possible business or investment solutions.
This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of December 17, 2021.