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Citi's London layoffs seem to have been very protracted

One month on from the revelation that Citi would be cutting around 400 people from its sales and trading division globally, it's becoming apparent who's going and that the process has been rather slow in London.

Insiders say the cuts were focused on people at director level and above and that some of those chosen came as a surprise. Jonathan Stubbs, Citi's popular global and European equity strategist was asked to leave in a move which apparently came as a shock to his colleagues. So was James Harris, Citi's former head of programme trading and electronic execution and EMEA head of prime finance and delta 1 sales. So too was Christopher Brown, a director in quant trading and systematic solutions who was focused on the prime brokerage business. And so was Dave Crawley, a managing director in research sales. 

None of those leaving responded to a request to comment. The bank is also said to have lost Keith Macksoud, a senior prime finance salesman, who is understood to have left of his own accord to join Morgan Stanley. 

Citi insiders say the layoffs were painful because they were spread over a full month. In New York, Citi's redundancies were allegedly made over the space of a day. In London, insiders claim they were spread over August and September because so many people were on holiday. In Citi's defence, the bank didn't actually dismiss people while they were on the beach, but there are rumours of holidaying traders receiving emails of commiseration from colleagues who had got wind of their impending departures. 

For many of those let go, the consultation period is thought to have ended last week. However, they remain officially employed by Citi for another month or so.

A spokeswoman for Citi said: “In line with current market conditions, we made targeted headcount reductions in our front office. We continue to grow and add talent strategically across the company and continue to make investments against our business priorities and to improve our infrastructure to best serve our clients."

Citi's cuts in equities come after years of investment in the sector by the U.S. bank. Research firm Tricumen says revenues per head in Citi's equities division were well below the market average in the first half of this year and that each business line in equities under-performed the market.  

Some of those let go were only hired as part of Murray Roos's equities hiring spree. Brown joined from Deutsche Bank in January 2017 after working on DB's Autobahn System, for example.

Insiders suggest Citi's senior cuts were understandable as the bank is overstaffed compared to the size of the market and needs to cut costs. 

Photo by Kevin Wang on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Vi
    Vijay Kumar Jayaram
    21 September 2019

    Wisdom set is made up of analytical forecasts, initiatives,commitment with commonsense which sustains good yield or success. Obviously high bands of talent must know what is coming and should have prepared for a win win exit or re-entry. If Not , then the pain , the shock, justifies the Bank's decision to lay off. I mean What's the point in retaining talent position which may not significantly contribute?

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