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Shake-ups at Citi and Nomura Spark Fears of Further Layoffs

Just laid off

Citigroup has a new managerial arrangement in its equities business. Derek Bandeen will still be in charge, but Mike Pringle (formerly head of global equities trading) will now focus on Delta One and Daniel Keegan will become head of cash equities globally. Simon Yates, who had been head of equity derivatives for the Americas, is becoming head of equity derivatives globally.

So far, so normal: several banks have been restructuring teams this month. However, in Citigroup’s equities business, the changes are said to be causing a lot of apprehension.

Citi’s EMEA equities businesses – both cash and equity derivatives – underperformed in 2011. Equities revenues dropped more than 70 percent for the second straight quarter in the final three months of the year. Citi has been open in declaring that equity derivatives in particular “underperformed.” Bonuses are said to have been non-existent or down 70 percent.

The new equities management structure is therefore feared as the prelude to some deep staffing cuts.

“The internal rumor at Citi is that the equities business is under strategic review with cuts coming up,” says one equities headhunter. He adds that layoffs of up to 30 percent will be announced at the end of March.

At worst, the fear is apparently that Citi will close entire areas of its equities business in the style of Credit Agricole, Unicredit or RBS. Hopefully, this is overdone.

Some areas of Citigroup’s equities operation did comparatively well last year: in equity research, it moved from 10th to sixth place in the Institutional Investor rankings.

Nomura Fires Fixed Income Managers

Events at Nomura underscore the predilection of new management for stamping their authority on matters. Steve Ashley was made head of fixed income in January. Yesterday, it was revealed that 30 fixed income managers had lost their jobs to “help drive the next phase of global growth.”  Despite the recent firings, Nomura is also said to have been hiring in fixed income, suggesting Ashley is engaged in covert upgrading.

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