Citi is cutting directors in its London banking business

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Citi is set to cut around 20 directors from its investment banking and capital markets business in London as it looks to trim its ranks in the run-up to year end.

Sources say the U.S. bank is expected to start the round of lay-off in the next couple of weeks with its longer-serving directors likely to be those most affected.

“They’re cutting directors who have been there a while and who are unlikely to make MD,” said one source familiar with the plans. “It’s not great being a director at an investment bank at the moment as it takes a lot longer to get promoted than it used to.”

Citi declined to comment on the cuts. Citi is not the only bank cutting from its junior investment banking ranks, with JP Morgan also said to be cutting analysts and associates.

Investment banking fees are down in Europe this year, dragged down by low volumes of IPOs and a weaker mergers and acquisitions market and that is putting pressure on banks to keep a sharp eye on costs.

With most banks expected to review their headcount, some are taking more drastic measures. Deutsche Bank is laying off 18,000 staff as part of a big retrenchment of its global investment banking presence while HSBC is said to be preparing to announce 10,000 job cuts, although the bulk will fall in its retail and commercial banking operations, rather than in global banking, where it is investing in talent.

While banks are cutting at the more junior levels, they are selectively hiring senior talent. Goldman Sachs, for example, has recently hired three managing directors to its European investment banking team. - In the last month, the bank has brought in two new faces to its financial sponsors team, recruiting Melissa Plaza-Marriott from Morgan Stanley, and Mahir Zaimoglu from JP Morgan. Meanwhile it has also hired Sergeii Hierner, who has joined its Benelex operation from Deutsche Bank.

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