Liia Oganesian empowering women with her story

Liia Oganesian , a professional banker, a manager with 12 years of experience, helps clients with large capital not only to preserve, but also to increase their wealth.

Liia, what brought you to the banking sector?

  When I was 8 years old, not far from our home there was a large beautiful building of one of the Moscow banks, and every time I passed this building, I told my parents that this was my bank.  Everyone in the family and family friends jokingly called the building “Liia’s Bank.”  Therefore, we can say that a childhood dream brought me to the bank.  After school I received a higher education in economics and at the age of 19 I started my banking career.

You became a leader very early – at 22.  How did you manage it? 
I was very motivated.  While still a student, I started working at Citibank Russia – I sold credit cards, loans in shopping centers.  Citibank pioneered this sales channel in Russia.  I had quite good results and a year later I was offered a job in a bank branch, and a year later I already became a manager for working with VIP clients.  Having worked in this capacity for just over a year, I was ready for my next career step.  I wanted to become a branch manager.  But Citibank Russia did not have many branches and all positions were taken.  Therefore, I began to consider other banks for my further development.  Unfortunately, not everything was so simple: I had excellent experience, excellent work results, but I was too young – I was 22 years old, in Russia it was a problem.  It was believed that at this age it was impossible to manage other people, although I strongly disagree with this.  And later, using my own example, I proved the inconsistency of this theory. Despite the fact that it is generally accepted in Russia to indicate the age in the resume, I deleted it so that the assessment of my candidacy was objective and based only on my results.  And that was the right decision.  After going through many stages of interviews, I received an offer from Rosbank, which is part of the Societe Generale international group, and in early 2010 I headed one of its central additional offices, which was located in the very center of Moscow, 3 minutes from Red Square.

How did you get into private banking?
This was a logical continuation of my professional development.  Before switching to private banking, I was the head of 3 branches in Moscow, and they were the largest and with an excellent client base.  I preferred to work with the richest clients on my own.  
And I have formed my own portfolio of wealthy clients.  During this period, it was within Rosbank that active development and expansion of Private banking began not only in Moscow, but also in other regions of Russia, and I was invited to head the Private bankingin the Siberian region.  Siberia is a huge part of Russia, which occupies 3/4 of the entire territory of Russia.  For comparison, Siberia is larger than Canada.  

Since 2017, my team and I have been actively developing this line of business and in literally 1 year we managed to double NBI (net business income).

 According to statistics, the percentage of women managers in the banking sector is low.  Tell us what it’s like to be a female executive in private banking.  Is there any prerogative for men or women in Private Banking?

 Indeed, there are more male leaders.  In my opinion, there are several reasons: first, it happened historically, and it takes more than one decade to equalize the ratio of male and female leaders.  Secondly, women are more likely to be distracted from the process of building a career by having and raising children than men.  And while women’s professional development is suspended, men, on the contrary, are building a career.  I meet a lot of women leaders, I have had to work under the leadership of women leaders.  I don’t see much difference between male and female management styles.  It depends more on professional qualities, character, temperament, etc.

Tell me, how do you motivate the team?  The issue of motivation is very important for any company, and when the team works with wealthy clients, some of whom are on the FORBES list, it imposes even more responsibility.  The main thing is to know well each member of your team and their motives. 

The main part of my team consists of young, professional and ambitious ladies who strive to build a successful career.  As you noted earlier, top management is dominated by male leaders.  And I’m lucky to be a woman, because it motivates the team to grow and develop.  They see through my example what results can be achieved by working hard and dedication to their work.

Liis, and finally, what advice would you give to young women who want to build a career in Private banking? 

I am sure that everyone has their own path in this difficult, but very interesting direction of business.  If you are just starting your career, then be sure to develop comprehensively.  Your clients will be very interesting personalities, from different business sectors, with different hobbies and interests.  Your all-round sophistication will help you maintain any conversation with a client.  Believe me, they really appreciate it.  Be a professional in your field, always defend the interests of your client and be in touch with them 24/7.  And over time, for them you will become not just their personal banker, but also a good friend.  And, most importantly, if you have chosen this direction as your life’s work, then do not deviate from the path, no matter what difficulties you have to face.  You will definitely succeed!  As they say in Russia: “the road will be mastered by the one walking


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