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Citi has been staffing-up in one particular area.

Citi's big hiring in compliance and controls now very clear

When Citi paid comparatively poor bonuses to its junior bankers for 2021, some of those grumbling about their payments seized upon a potential reason for the bank's parsimony: Citi has been spending heavily on strengthening its compliance and control functions. A new piece of research makes the outcome of this spending clear.

Research by recruiters Morgan McKinley and data analytics firm Vacancysoft suggests that Citi posted 918 risk and compliance vacancies in the UK alone last year, up from 497 in 2020 and just 161 in 2019. Last year's vacancies in the areas at Citi were 87% more plentiful than at JPMorgan, which the research says posted the second-biggest number of UK risk and compliance roles in 2021.

Two months into 2022, Citi remains London's big compliance hirer, with an apparent 72 vacancies compared to 54 at Barclays and 32 at JPM.

Citi was fined $400m for its failure to correct “longstanding deficiencies” in its risk and control systems in late 2020 and instructed to upgrade both its processes and its technology. The bank has subsequently invested over $1bn to improve risk management and compliance and appears to have been hiring commensurate to that. In late 2020, for example, it hired Karen Peetz, a former president of BNY Mellon, to strengthen its data architecture. 

Morgan McKinley and Vacancysoft say Citi wasn't alone in hiring for risk and compliance last year. Across the market, vacancies in London rose 98%. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • pb
    26 February 2022

    Go back 15 to 20 years, at Citi, and you'd see that at least in some areas, compliance was a huge joke. Our department had a 'manager' who had zero usable skills in anything - so our department head made this clown our COMPLIANCE manager. He 'learned' how to cut and paste names and addresses into compliance forms. Among these forms were BCP/DR plans. No one ever checked any of his work. He'd close out a document, send it up the chain to someone else equally useless. If and when a DR situation actually occurred, there was nothing set up or tested, nor did the department have someone else managing this super critical function.

    We also talk a lot more about risk today. Back then, which vendor had the best perks decided which vendor's product would be chosen. I'm still surprised how, at another firm, I found that a vendor only had 3 employees, which of course is very risky. At that firm we went with another vendor, but at Citi, real risk would not have been considered. At another firm, we had a variation of the 1960's airline Coffee Tea or Me scenario. Sign up for our service for enough people and the bosses get all expenses paid golf trips to Boston, complete with full access to the mini skirted sales girls (who seemed to have zero product knowledge). Today, of course, Fed and NYS vendor risk rules are harder to get around - and maybe Citi and some other banks have come to understand that. Certainly regulators have.

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