As soon as the Citigroup moniker was introduced for the entities that were Schroders Salomon Smith Barney Nikko Citibank (to name just a few), the investment bankers were worried that one day they would lose traditional names to which they were so attached. But it wasn’t long before they started answering their phones with a curt "Citi". So the final outcome of a much-rumoured rebranding exercise was not much of a surprise.
And yet one cannot help but be a little bit disappointed that they’ve not managed to put all the businesses under one umbrella name. Whoops! We can’t say that any more; the umbrella is no longer there.
But while Chuck Prince claims: "Our unified brand represents the promise to serve our clients as one company, as one Citi," and that "extensive research shows Citi is a highly effective brand across many languages and markets," – it seems that there is still a need for Citi Smith Barney (wealth management), Citi Investment Research, Citi Private Bank and Citi (the corporate and investment bank). They didn’t even try to change the Banamex and Primerica brands.
With storm clouds gathering over the US bank as investors agitate for a rise in the share price, perhaps Citi might regret chucking the umbrella.