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Innovation

The mission of the Office of Innovation is to help prepare clients and the Private Bank for the future.

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Orange building
Business man

Innovation is rapidly changing the world around us.

Technological advancements are revolutionizing the ways we live, work and invest.

Many of them could have far-reaching implications for you and your wealth.

However, the speed and diversity of the changes often make it hard to keep up.

The Private Bank created the Office of Innovation to be your dedicated guide to this area.

Our Innovation Officers identify the trends that are most likely to disrupt businesses and impact investments in those businesses.

We then help you make sense of those trends so you can adapt your business and investment portfolio for the challenges and opportunities.

Our work addresses the big picture and then contributes to actionable investment ideas and business strategies.

 

 

The insights we generate also promote the adoption of new technologies and practices within the Private Bank to enhance the overall service you receive.

As disruptive innovation continues at an almost overwhelming speed, we can be your constant partner as you navigate change.

Embedded within the innovation network of Citi, the Office of Innovation is both a sense maker and a connector - sharing insight by bringing the outside in and the inside out.

Philip Watson
Chief Innovation Officer & Head of the Global Investment Lab
How we serve you
Strong partnerships
The Office of Innovation complements our own work with insights from an extensive network of partners with a depth of experience.

This includes Citi Research’s institutional analysts, as well as Silicon Valley-based Citi Ventures, which accelerates the discovery of new sources of value by exploring, incubating and investing in new ideas.

We also collaborate with third parties, such as fintech companies and leading academic institutions.

Our strong partnerships enable us to keep you updated about the most critical trends.

Global perspectives
Innovation is transforming industries throughout the world.

While the forces are global by nature, their impacts can vary by country.

The Office of Innovation has professionals and partners based in every global region.

Ongoing insights
We deliver our analysis to you in a variety of ways, according to your preferences.

Our white papers and other publications address some of the most topical developments within innovation today.

We organize regular events and forums – both in-person and virtual – helping you to connect to thought leaders and your peers from around the world.

We can also offer you customized advice upon specific innovation issues facing you, your business and your portfolio.

Meet our people

Philip Watson caricature
Global Head
Philip Watson
Chief Innovation Officer & Head of the Global Investment Lab

Philip heads the Private Bank’s Office of Innovation, which he helped to establish in 2018. He chairs the Growth Board, participates on accelerator programs and other initiatives designed to improve the client experience. 

He has more than 20 years of financial industry experience, mostly gained at Citi. Before joining the Private Bank, he held a variety of positions within Citi’s Institutional Clients Group. As well as leading the Global Investment Lab, Philip sits on the Global Investment Committee and Multi-Asset Class Committees, which inform the tactical market views and management of discretionary portfolios respectively. 

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Philip Watson caricature
Global Head
Philip Watson
Chief Innovation Officer & Head of the Global Investment Lab

Philip heads the Private Bank’s Office of Innovation, which he helped to establish in 2018. He chairs the Growth Board, participates on accelerator programs and other initiatives designed to improve the client experience. 

He has more than 20 years of financial industry experience, mostly gained at Citi. Before joining the Private Bank, he held a variety of positions within Citi’s Institutional Clients Group. As well as leading the Global Investment Lab, Philip sits on the Global Investment Committee and Multi-Asset Class Committees, which inform the tactical market views and management of discretionary portfolios respectively. 

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Global citizens

The Private Bank exists to serve a very special community. Hear the stories of global citizens in their own words.

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Global Citizens
Experience creator
ALAN FAENA

“Giving new life to a city is one of the most beautiful things that anyone can do,” says Alan Faena, as he looks out on the Miami neighbourhood that now bears his name. “It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, both here and back home in Buenos Aires. These are my gifts to the people, not only for today’s generation but also for future generations.” And what a gift the Faena District is indeed.

Spanning five blocks adjacent to the white sands of Miami Beach, the neighborhood is nothing less than an urban oasis of sensory delights. Its buildings – old and new – somehow fuse perfectly with their natural surroundings. Absolutely nothing is mundane here, not even the multistory parking garage, whose exterior could easily pass for that of an ultra-modern cultural center or designer shopping mall. Incidentally, the Faena District also possesses both of those things.

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Global Citizens
Adriana Cisneros
ADRIANA CISNEROS

“I think it’s something like less than one third of family businesses that make it from the first to the second generation and half of those don’t make it to the third generation,” says Adriana Cisneros. “I’m the third generation in our business, so I really hope I’m going to be one of those that survives. Who knows, I might completely mess up, but hopefully not.” Messing up seems a rather unlikely prospect going by Adriana’s record to date. The company is in robust health under her leadership. She has recently returned from a whistle-stop tour of Central and South America, where Cisneros Interactive has become the sole reseller of Facebook in nine countries, the only nations on earth where the social media giant will not manage its own sales.

Facebook chose to work through Cisneros Interactive because it already has the region’s most advanced advertising network. “I started Cisneros Interactive, our digital division four years ago,” says Adriana. “Our aim from the outset has been to create the largest advertising network in Latin America and also the smartest. When we began, others were trying to do similar things, but in a very country-specific way. No one really dared to do it pan-regionally. I used the same architecture to build the business that my father did when he brought satellite television to Latin America three decades ago.”

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Global Citizens
The Brown family & NFI: Keeping North America running
SID BROWN

I went to Georgetown University, where I majored in finance. After graduation, I went to New York, where I worked for two years in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, before attending Harvard Business School. At that point, I had to decide if I wanted to go back into investment banking or return to the family business. It was 1983 and NFI was primarily a trucking business with very small warehousing, real estate, and truck leasing components.

I’m not completely sure exactly what I was thinking at the time, but I probably felt a certain obligation to join the family business. I’d kind of grown up within NFI. From junior high school onwards, I’d always helped out at the company during summer vacations. I’d worked in the maintenance shop and as a loader in the warehouse. We had always discussed business around the family table as far back as I can remember. So I guess you could say it was in my blood.

When I entered the business, I also had two brothers and a sister working alongside me. So I not only had to figure out how to work with my father, but also with my siblings too. As we were coming up through the ranks, our father wisely refused to appoint any of us as his successor. ‘If I pick one of you,’ he said to us, ‘the others will always resent me and our relationship will suffer.’ Instead, he told us to work it out among ourselves, after which he would sell the business to us.

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Global Citizens
Fighting an asymmetric war
MOHAMED AMERSI

Problem-solving and progress-making are second nature to Mohamed Amersi. For many years, he worked as a lawyer for two of the world’s leading firms, focusing upon highly complex equity-related deals. He subsequently set up his own advisory and investment firm specializing in technology, media, and telecoms. In 2015, he and his family created the Amersi Foundation, which particularly supports causes relating to education, poverty, conflict, and social cohesion.

The pandemic has definitely felt like a war at times. But it’s an unusual, asymmetric kind of war. The enemy we’re fighting is one that we can’t see or touch. It doesn’t deploy tanks, fire bullets or have a nuclear arsenal. But it does have hidden bases in pretty much every single part of the Earth. And our current weaponry is unable to defeat this enemy – an enemy that is only interested in killing us.

Like most people, I have had to learn a lot very quickly about COVID-19. I had no in-depth understanding of what ‘triaging,’ ‘social distancing,’ and ‘self-isolation’ were all about. We’ve all learned a completely new lexicon, a new way of living and have a new way of thinking about things. It’s a strange paradox, but we’ve had to stay apart in order to come together against this pandemic.

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