Fixed income and foreign exchange are two long-standing pillars of Citi’s business in the region. It also has an unusual capacity to keep its customers abreast of political and economic developments: 7,000 clients attended a call with adviser and former Bank of England governor Mervyn King after the Brexit vote, for example.
And no European investment bank, let alone any fellow US firm, could criticize Citi for huddling in London. It is a primary dealer for governments from Finland to Greece, and from Portugal to Ireland.
What makes Citi stand out further is its capacity to integrate its markets business with its wider corporate and investment banking backbone. And it is not standing still. Citi’s European markets head Leo Arduini can point to progress in matching its long-standing fixed-income strengths with capabilities in equity-derivatives, where traditionally its advantages have been less obvious over its rivals, especially the French banks.
Citi has made gains in commodities and not only from European banks. Its purchase of US and European commodities trading books from Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank two years ago indicated a direction of travel, again targeting integration with the corporate bank. London is Citi’s global commodities headquarters, overseen by Stuart Staley.
Citi’s markets business has electronic leadership with the Velocity platform and CitiFX Pulse, and it has developed those trading platforms further over the last year (matching similar digitization initiatives, for example, in transaction services, with the launch of eSubmit, an electronic document submission service).