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Citizens brokerage business has yet another chief

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Citizens Bank has named a new executive to take charge of the retail brokerage unit, making him its second leader in two years.

The Providence, Rhode Island-based bank recruited Kevin Martin from J.P. Morgan Chase to continue accelerating the unit’s pace of growth, the bank said.
Martin replaces Frank Drago, who left earlier this month to pursue other opportunities, according to a Citizens spokesperson.

Martin will report to John Bahnken who joined Citizens in October 2015 as head of the bank’s wealth management business overall.

While at J.P. Morgan Chase, Martin held a variety of leadership roles in the company’s brokerage and wealth management businesses, including managing director of Chase Wealth Management for six years. He had been with J.P. Morgan for two decades, according to Citizens.

Bahnken praised Martin’s strong leadership skills and knowledge of the business, saying “clients and advisors will benefit greatly from his deep expertise.”

Since Citizens went public in September 2014 and separated from the Royal Bank of Scotland, it has sought to ramp up the wealth management business, hiring Bahnken to lead the growth initiative.

Bahnken has so far focused on mass-affluent and affluent clients, staking out a two-pronged strategy to attract their business. In 2016, he launched a new “Platinum” product line offering mass-affluent clients with $100,000 to $500,000 in investable assets reduced rates and fees on savings and checking accounts as well as access to financial consultants.

He also established a strategy geared toward better serving “Premier” or affluent clients with $500,000 to $2 million in investable assets. The strategy calls for advisors and bankers to work closely together as partners in serving the affluent.

Since his arrival, Bahnken has significantly expanded the corps of financial consultants, bringing the total to about 350. He has also hired scores of new licensed bankers as well as relationship managers, bankers who work with financial advisors to serve affluent clients.

Citizens Wealth Management appears to be on an upward trend at least in terms of revenue. In 2017, the bank generated $158 million in revenue from trust and investment services, up 8% year-over-year, according to the bank’s latest earnings release.

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