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Unhappiness in Citi’s equities business?

Unhappy

Is everything ok in Citi’s London-based equities business? We ask, because headhunters claim there are rumbles of discontent.

“There have been a lot of changes there,” claims one senior equities headhunter. “The old guard have all left – they’re reorganising and the guys who’ve been there for years are out. It’s creating a lot of uncertainty.”

Citi didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But there does seem to be something to the allegations. Citi’s equities business has been through a period of change ever since the bank announced it was making 950 equities redundancies at the end of 2012. First to go, in April 2013, was Ronan Connolly – then head of Citi’s EMEA equities business, who recently resurfaced at Nomura. Following Connolly’s exit, Rory Hill and Imraan Moola were promoted as co-heads of equity derivatives trading in the region, but Hill left Citi in July 2014 according to the FCA Register.  Andy Thompson, Connolly’s successor as EMEA head of Citi’s equities business also left in July, ostensibly to ‘spend more time with his family’.  That July equities cull also caught Nick Rowe, Citi’s global head of prime finance, who suddenly quit to ‘pursue other opportunities.’  Earlier on (in May), Citi’s London-based global head of equities trading, Mike Pringle, unexpectedly exited for Moore Capital. Derek Bandeen, the ex-Morgan Stanley veteran hired in 2008 to build Citi’s global equities business, remains in place but Machiavellian headhunters claim Bandeen’s hold has been “weakened” following the departure of so many key lieutenants.

To make matters worse, rather than promoting one of its equities professionals to replace Thomson as EMEA head of equities, Citi recently shifted Tim Gately, its European head of credit trading into the role. “There’s a feeling that equities is just an add-on and that fixed income are running the show,” alleges the headhunter. “People in Citi’s equities business are very unhappy,” he continues – pointing too to the recent departure of Dan Petherick, regional head of equity derivatives flow sales, and his team – allegedly for SocGen.

Headhunters have a reason to talk up discontent in particular banks so that they can pick people out and place them elsewhere (for a hefty fee). But Citigroup’s equities professionals do seem unusually restless. It may not help that the reputedly paid some members of its equities business badly in the last bonus round.

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