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Citi's electronic equities hiring offensive to continue in 2022

Citi has been building its global electronic equities business in 2021, and plans to continue hiring next year. However, some insiders suggest exits are also an issue.

Citi has made 20 hires globally into product, coverage and origination functions in its electronic equities business in 2021 and it intends to continue adding to the team in 2022. This year's hires include Daniel Nehren, the global head of equities e-trading, who joined in March after leaving Barclays the previous July. It's also hired Will Mellor from JPMorgan as a director in data and analytics, Bilal Sheick from Morgan Stanley for execution sales, and Jia Shao from UBS in global electronic execution.

The hires come as Citi continues to invest in building out its equities business as a counterbalance to its enormous fixed income trading operation. The bank has been gaining market share in electronic equities trading, albeit from a low base. Equities sales and trading revenues at the bank rose 40% year-on-year in the third quarter, although this was due in large part to Citi's strong equity derivatives trading operation.

Citi is not alone in upping its focus on electronic equities trading. - Credit Suisse is doing the same, as is Barclays. Bank of Montreal is building out a new electronic trading team in Europe under former Citi trader Kavel Patel, and has just recruited Yashar Asl from Exane as a managing director. 

Competition for talent means that the flow of electronic trading talent at Citi isn't one way. - Alongside Patel, it's also lost Graham Wayne, a senior electronic equities product manager (who joined BofA in October), James Baugh, the head of market structure (who went to Cowen in August) and a handful of others. Ben Valentine, the bank's pan-Asian head of electronic execution retired last year. 

Citi's strength in equities has traditionally come from its equity derivatives business, and the bank's cash business is led by an array of people with a derivatives background, including Dirk Keijer and David Haldane, who run equities sales and trading and head of cash trading Peter Lambrakis. As the bank continues to build in electronic equities, some insiders say cash specialists should be given more prominence. "It's a different approach," says one. "Derivatives is all about PnL and cost, whereas cash is about relationships, liquidity, technology investments, and understanding what clients need."

“We will continue to invest in both our people and our platform in 2022, as we expand our product range and capabilities,” says a Citi spokesperson.

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Photo by Joshua Lawrence on Unsplash


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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