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Article20 Apr 2021

Citi aims to "double down on wealth" across Asia and Europe

Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser made one of her first marks as chief executive on the sprawling network of Citi's businesses that spans the globe.

Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser made one of her first marks as chief executive on the sprawling network of Citi's businesses that spans the globe.

The bank announced it was exiting 13 consumer-banking franchises across Asia and Europe in a statement accompanying the bank's first-quarter earnings release on Thursday. Australia, China, India, Korea, and Russia are among the markets Citi is exiting. It's part of the the bank plans to refocus its efforts on wealth management outside the US across four strategic hubs in Singapore, UAE, Hong Kong, and London. 

In the statement, Fraser said Citi aims to "double down on wealth" across Asia and Europe. The bank will maintain its investment banking presence in the markets.

"We believe our capital, investment dollars and other resources are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia," Fraser said.

As part of the broader shift in strategy, Citi also named new leadership for its recently formed wealth management division as it looks to expand its footprint in the global wealth market. 

Ida Liu, a longtime Citi executive who was most recently head of the private bank in North America focused on ultra-wealthy clients, was named global head of private banking, the bank told employees Wednesday.

Liu's remit encompasses the bank's private capital group, global trust, and private bank global marketing operations, Jim O'Donnell, head of Citi Global Wealth, said in a memo to employees that Insider reviewed. Liu's replacement will be named shortly. Regional private banking heads will report to Liu and their regional management, the memo added. 

Fabio Fontainha, who has served as head of retail banking for Asia Pacific, and Steven Lo, head of the private bank in Asia, were named co-heads of wealth in Asia. And Luigi Pigorini, who leads the private bank for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), will now also lead and manage all of Citi's wealth businesses for those regions. 

"Our clients are looking for more — whether it's access to investment opportunities and advice, tools and analytics, a focus on environmental, social and governance concerns or more engaging digital experiences," O'Donnell, a longtime Citi leader who was previously global head of investor sales and relationship management, said in the memo. 

The leadership appointments come as the New York-based bank is looking to grow its focus on the business of wealth management. Citi, as well as banking rivals JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, have looked to shape their wealth businesses as they are seen as more stable and reliable sources of revenue than other businesses, like trading, that tend to be more volatile over time. 

  • Eduardo A. Martinez Campos will now serve as chief operating officer of the global wealth business.
  • Ronna Glick, who previously worked in markets investor sales, will now serve as global head of client strategy and client analytics.
  • Running Du, who was previously on the bank's corporate strategy team, will now serve as chief of staff for the global wealth business. 
  • David Bailin, chief investment officer and global head of investments, will now form a group that combines the investment teams from the private bank and the consumer bank globally. 
  • Giuliano Malacarne, currently head of investment finance for the private bank, will expand his remit and coordinate how banking and lending products are delivered to wealth clients.  
  • Naz Vahid, who runs a group that provides financial services and advice to law firms, will now look to grow the business globally, "across new industry sectors and professional organizations."
  • Jose Fuentes, who has ran the private bank for Latin America for the last 11 years and has been with Citi for 35 years, will retire. The bank has yet to name his replacement.

The global wealth division, formed in January, brought together Citi's private bank, which sat under its institutional business, and wealth units run by its US consumer bank including Citi Personal Wealth Management.

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