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BANKING

Robert Morse: How Citigroup plans to stay number one in Asia

With a long history in the region, the most extensive network of any bank and a full suite of financial products, Citigroup is the biggest force in Asian banking. Yet it is still facing challenges. Chris Leahy spoke to Robert Morse, chief executive officer, corporate & investment banking, Citigroup Asia Pacific, about the bank's performance in Asia

How would you assess Citigroup's position in Asia?

I'm really pleased with the platform we have in Asia. In the front end we're very strong: in investment banking, equity capital markets, debt capital markets and corporate banking. In GTS [global transaction services], we have a huge sales force in Asia covering thousands of corporates. This 1,200 people-strong front end allows us to cover our companies deeply, to establish a long and deep relationship.

Your competitors argue that if Citigroup ever got its act together in terms of cross-product selling, it would be a formidable opponent. How do you react to that?

That criticism might have been valid in the past, but not any more. We weren't anywhere near as integrated before as we are now. We've worked hard to improve internal empowerment, to integrate and to encourage staff to advance the Citigroup agenda with customers. That integration has been the crowning achievement of the past 12 months, and I think clients increasingly look at Citigroup as offering a full range of products.

Citigroup was famous for its geographic fiefdoms – with powerful country coverage officers (CCOs) – that tended to make product-driven marketing difficult.

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