If you’re thinking of joining Citi, you may well want to join it in Asia. The region is expanding more rapidly than any other in Citi’s global empire, its first quarter 2018 results show. While Citi’s Q1 revenue shrank 1% year on year in the US, it surged 18% in Asia to reach $4,135m. This was also a higher percentage gain and larger total figure than in both EMEA and Latin America.
During the bank’s Q1 earnings call, Citi CFO John Gerspach pinned the revenue rise on a more “positive” economic outlook within “growing economies in Asia” that Citi’s broad regional franchise was able to take advantage of.
What are the best Asian teams at Citi to work for right now? The bank’s results and Gerspach’s remarks suggest you should send your resume to these units:
“Equities performed well [in Asia] this quarter,” Gerspach said on the earnings call, without providing regional figures. Globally, the bank’s equities trading unit saw revenue increase by 38%. As we reported in February, Citi’s Asian equities team also enjoyed a strong 2017, resulting in market-beating bonuses. The bank appears to be reaping the rewards of the Hong Kong-based senior hires it made in 2016 and 2017, a period in which other banks – most notably Standard Chartered and Barclays – were culling Asian equities jobs. In April 2016, for example, Citi moved its co-head of equities for Australia, Angus Richardson, to Hong Kong as head of APAC cash equities sales. Last year, Credit Suisse MD Arnaud Leteissier was named as Citi’s head of APAC equity derivatives trading and co-head of APAC equity derivatives.
Global revenue from fixed income markets – which, like equities, is part of the wider Institutional Clients Group (ICG) division – declined 7% year on year at Citi in the first quarter, according to the bank’s Q1 financial results. But the picture was less bleak in Asia. “The fixed income business in Asia actually performed very well this quarter,” said Gerspach. Again, this is a continuation of a 2017 trend. Citi ranked first in Asia Pacific for fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC) revenue by bank last year, according to data provider Coalition.
If you want to join Citi as an investment banker, Asia may now be the best location. Investment banking revenue declined globally at Citi, according to its Q1 results, but Gerspach pointed out that it was only “down a little bit in Asia” and that the fall was “a lot less than it was anywhere else”. Equity capital markets appears to be the most buoyant part of Citi’s investment bank right now. Citi ranked fifth for Asia (ex-Japan) ECM revenue by bank in Q1, up three places year on year, according to Dealogic. And it’s the top firm in the region for ECM volume by bookrunner, having placed only 11th the same time last year.
Citi’s private bankers had a good first quarter – global revenue was up 21% year on year. Citi doesn’t split out private banking income on a regional basis (it only does so on a divisional basis for ICG, of which the private bank is a part). However, figures released last week by Asian Private Banker show that Citi’s Asian assets under management grew 17.4% year on year in 2017 to $256bn, as it maintained its position as the second largest private bank by AUM in Asia. Its regional headcount of relationship managements rose by 33 people over the same period to reach 358. Citi is expected to recruit Asian RMs at a faster rate this year as it targets ultra-high-net-worth clients, says a Singapore-based headhunter.
Like ICG, Global Consumer Banking (GCB) is a division at Citi, so Asian revenue figures are therefore available. Year on year, revenue increased 11% to $1.9bn in the first quarter (or 7% when measured in constant dollars). Where’s the best place to work within GCB in Asia? The bank’s Q1 results suggest that it’s wealth management (a separate unit to its private bank, covering less affluent clients). Wealth experienced “strong growth” in the Q1, according to the bank's earnings report.
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