It's that time of year when line managers in banks look at their depleted bonus pools and then look at their headcounts. If people are to be happy, then either one must grow or one must shrink. Usually it's headcounts that shrink. And usually it's expensive senior staff who are at the forefront of the shrinkage. This year, Citi seems to be playing the game to a tee.
Following last week's revelation that staff are being exited from Citigroup's markets division two months before bonuses are announced, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has updated its register to reflect some of the recent exits. The FCA Register doesn't clarify why people left Citi - they could have left entirely of their own accord, but it does show that they have stopped working for the bank in the UK. Departures include: Caroline Clarke, the global head of specialist sales at Citi, who has gone to become head of corporate relations at Autonomous, the independent research company, Nicolaus Von Habsburg, a director-level interest rates salesman hired by Citi from Morgan Stanley in 2010, along with Stephen Reid and Scott Harris, two other directors in the London office.
At the same time, the FCA Register suggests that Citi has made two junior hires in the past week or so. They are: Muriel Perren, a credit researcher focused on the financials sector from Morgan Stanley and Claude Stéphanie Ngningha, an associate in M&A from Rothschild.
Citi didn't immediately return a call on its staff changes. However, this would not be the first time that the US bank has dropped senior staff just before bonuses. It made layoffs on the trading floor in December 2011 and December 2012. At least it has form.