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People and markets: Citi fleshes out FICC decision

The shift in the balance of power in Citi’s debt group duplicates a trend seen in some other US investment banks.

Citi finally unveiled the real major reorganization of its fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) business in February. The shake-up puts meat on the bones of the October 2006 decision of then head of capital markets Tom Maheras to formally incorporate Citi’s extensive local markets/emerging markets business into its traditional fixed-income offering.

The first steps in truly integrating the emerging markets business, which had operated as a stand-alone silo since 1998, started in July 2005 with the formation of global credit markets run by Chad Leat. Leat now has a co-head in Mark Watson, who was previously European head of fixed income.

"We are different than pretty much every other bank/financial institution in that we have these emerging markets businesses in 100-odd countries that often resemble full-fledged fixed-income businesses," says Watson. "Most institutions don’t have those historic businesses. They were run somewhat separately but Tom Maheras felt it had come to the point where he wanted to put them formally together under Randy Barker, Geoff Coley and Paco Ybarra," says Watson. Ybarra had formerly run emerging markets, and Barker and Coley were co-heads of the rest of fixed income.

The latest restructuring emphasizes the firm’s expectation that growth outside the US, and in developing new product offerings for its client groups, will drive future earnings.

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