Citi is big in Asia. As we reported last year, it made almost three times more in third-quarter revenues than Goldman Sachs did.
Now the US bank’s fourth quarter and 2018 results are out. While they are short on detail about Asia (more will follow in Citi’s Annual Report), the numbers do shine some light on regional jobs and careers at the bank going into 2019.
Asia loses its appeal (slightly)
Is Asia still the best place to relocate to if you work elsewhere at Citi? Perhaps not, at least if Q4 trends continue. Asian revenues of $3,519bn for the final three months were down 5% year on year – the worst performance of any region at Citi. The full-year figures were better – Asian revenues rose 4% in 2018.
ECM as a (comparatively) bright spot in Asia?
Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) – which comprises corporate and investment banking, and other units such as private banking – endured a mediocre fourth quarter in Asia. Although Asian ICG revenues ($8,304m) were up 1% year on year, they were down on all of the previous three quarters. Was there a bright spot within Asian investment banking? Citi’s results don’t specifically say, but new Dealogic data suggests it might be ECM. While Citi came 9th and 10th among banks for 2018 APAC (ex-Japan) M&A and DCM revenues, respectively, it took second spot for ECM, up six places from 2017. Globally (the firm doesn’t publish regional data by product), ECM was the ‘least worst’ part of IBD. Citi’s ECM revenues fell by $130m last year, compared with declines of $407m and $716m in DCM and FICC, respectively.
Steady in the private bank
Citi’s private bankers had a steady final quarter – global revenue was up 3% year on year, “driven by growth in loans and investments, as well as improved deposit spreads”. 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, it is expected to maintain its position as the second largest private bank by AUM in Asia for 2018, say headhunters. Its regional headcount of relationship managers rose by 33 people to reach 358 in 2017, and a similar increase is expected when 2018 figures are published later this quarter by Asian Private Banker.
Avoid investment sales
If your job is focused on selling investment products within Citi’s Global Consumer Bank (GCB) bank in Asia, you likely had a tough time in 2018. Investment sales revenues in the region were down more than a third (35%) year on year in the fourth quarter, due to “weak market sentiment”, according to Citi’s results. This may be a reference to the plummeting Chinese stock market. The Shanghai Composite Index ended last year 25% below where it started, making it the worst-performing major stock market in the world, reports Bloomberg.
If the retail side of GCB excites you, you might want to apply to work in its sizable cards unit, where revenues grew 3% year on year in Q4, “driven by growth in loans and purchase sales”. There was also “continued growth in deposit, lending and insurance revenues” within GCB in Asia.
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