Citigroup making major push into wealth management under new CEO Jane Fraser

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Citigroup’s incoming chief executive, Jane Fraser, has started to make her mark on the firm — overhauling the unit that manages money for wealthy customers.

The US bank has created a new global wealth unit, which will be led by Jim O’Donnell, formerly the bank’s global head of investor sales and relationship management, according to an internal memo seen by Financial News. The new division will combine its private bank and its consumer wealth organisation, which manages money for less affluent customers.

It means Citi’s private bank no longer falls into its institutional clients group, a major unit run by Paco Ybarra which includes its investment bank, sales and trading operation and corporate banking services.

The memo was sent by Michael Corbat, Citi’s chief executive, and Fraser who is set to take the reins at the top next month, the first woman to head up a major Wall Street bank.

“We are seeing once-in-a-generation wealth creation in many parts of the world, particularly Asia. With our unique capabilities and assets, Citi has both the opportunity and the ambition to lead our industry in wealth management,” the memo said.

Though Fraser started out as an investment banker, she spent years in senior roles within Citi’s consumer and commercial bank, leading its consumer bank from 2019. She has also headed up its private banking unit, and a shift to move the two units closer together bears the hallmarks of her first major strategic move.

READ Citi memo names Credit Suisse’s Lucy Baldwin to new senior equities role

“Making wealth management a key differentiator and source of enhanced returns for Citi will be an important element of our strategy going forward,” the memo said. “Putting the full force of our firm behind an offering in this way reflects the approach we’re taking to transforming our bank.”

Citigroup has continued to install new leaders in key roles across its business. On 13 January, it named Shahmir Khaliq as its new head of head of treasury and trade solutions, a major unit for the US bank, replacing Naveed Sultan who is now chairman of its ICG.

Meanwhile, in its markets business, Lucy Baldwin was hired from Credit Suisse into a newly-created role leading equity research and its equity advisory unit.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke