Something's up in Citi's European equities team

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Citi's European equity team appears to be undergoing some changes. In the past few months, several senior people have left.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Register indicates that Citi has parted company with no less than Christopher Jackson, head of EMEA execution sales, Simon Livesey, a managing director in emerging markets sales and Christopher Few, a director in equity trading. The bank has also disassociated itself from Yonatan Gozdanker, its former head of EMEA cash equities trading.

The exits follow disparaging remarks about Citi's equities performance by CFO John Gerspach in its January investor call. “We have an issue with our equities franchise in one region,” Gerspach said. "And we have begun to take actions there."

Citi's equities 'actions' haven't impacted everyone equally. Last year, the bank was accused of paying disappointing bonuses in equity research, with the result that several of its equity research staff left after bonus time. This year, only one equity researcher - utilities focused John Coates has been recently de-registered with the FCA. Headhunters say equity researchers at Citi were paid far better this year. "They paid well in hot sectors like TMT, consumer and industrials," says one equity research-focused headhunter, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But they didn't pay so well in sales - it was as if they took the sales money to pay researchers."

Citi didn't respond to a comment on the changes in equities business, which didn't feature in the top five of Institutional Investor's recent ranking for European research businesses. The FCA Register reveals numerous other departures across other business areas. They include Andrew Collins, former head of EMEA sales for the alternative investment services businesses, who's joined hedge fund Trium Capital as head of UCITS, Marco Arosio, Citi's former head of global rates structuring, Aiden Shilling, the former global co-head of inventory management and Matthew Fennessy, a director in FX sales.

Citi is also said to be clearing out talent from its IBD business ahead of some 'upgrading'. Registered departures to date include Samit Parekh, a director in M&A and Andrew Lea, a former VP on Citi's financial sponsor group.

While most of Citi's departures have been very senior, many of its new hires have been analysts or associates, Rather than upgrading, it looks a lot like Citi is cost-cutting.

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