Cash-rich NBFCs lure banking professionals

MUMBAI: Leading non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), flush with funds from global and local private equity firms, are increasingly poaching CEO and CXO talent from large Indian banks amid a rise in loan demand, higher credit spending, and large-scale digitisation drive.

Demand for senior professionals in NBFCs has shot up in the last 12-18 months, company officials and search executives said.

And they are luring bankers who have worked with large banks such as ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank for a decade or more with bigger designations and roles, and hefty pay packages.

Earlier this week, Poonawala Fincorp announced the appointment of HDFC Bank’s mortgage head Arvind Kapil as its managing director and CEO.

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Other recent top moves include: Sudipta Roy, MD and CEO of L&T Finance, who came from ICICI Bank; Amit Mukherjee, chief risk officer – SME Secured at Bajaj Finserv, who moved from ICICI Bank; Abhiram Bhattacharjee, chief operating officer at IIFL Finance, who came from Kotak Mahindra Bank; Dilip Vaitheeswaran, chief sales officer at PNB Housing Finance, who moved from Axis Bank; Dhiren Panchal, head of product at ICICI Home Finance, who was earlier with Axis Bank; and Sudheer Reddy, group chief compliance officer at Jio Financial Services, who came from Bandhan Bank.

“Higher traction from domestic and global investors has propelled the momentum for intensive growth and expansion within the NBFC sector,” said Shuvharshika Mishra, partner, wholesale banking, consumer lending and insurance, at executive search firm Native.

“Also, as per adherence to regulatory guidelines, small/mid-sized NBFC players (those with Rs 5,000 crore or less assets under management) are investing in hiring talent for regulatory roles in risk, audit, control and compliance along with key business hires,” she added.

Geetha Menon, head corporate HR at finance and investment services company IIFL, said, “With an economic upswing, higher credit spending, rise in loan demand and an overall optimism in the market, NBFCs are willing pay that extra needed to attract top talent,” said Geetha Menon, head corporate HR, IIFL.

According to her, there is an all-time demand for CXOs and professionals one level below CXOs.

“Also, we are becoming very digitally savvy and innovation is happening at a rapid scale. There is a talent war in the market and good talent will command a premium,” Menon said.

Some like Monica Agrawal, who heads Korn Ferry’s financial services in Asia Pacific as managing director, are of the view that the lure of bigger and meatier roles is one of the primary reasons for senior banking talent shifting to NBFCs.

Also, experts said, usually NBFCs have more flexibility compared to banks, which are guided by more stringent regulations, to loosen their purse strings, thus enabling them to sometimes pay higher than banks to attract senior professionals.

Many NBFCs are willing to pay salary hikes of 25-40% for new CXO hires versus 20-25% a couple of years ago, search executives said.

Salaries could range between Rs 2-4 crore for CXOs and Rs 4-8 crore for top CEO hires, along with lucrative wealth creation opportunities in the form of stock plans such as ESOPs, they said.

The NBFC sector has seen a period of rapid growth in the last 12-18 months.

In FY23, NBFCs saw a 12.8% credit growth, surpassing banks at 5.7%, according to a report by the Reserve Bank of India. The sector is expected to grow 14-17% in the upcoming FY25, driven by credit demand across various retail loan segments.

Roy Walsh

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