(ATF) Days after Citibank announced the jettisoning of its retail banking business in Asia’s largest market, a report says the lender wants to set up investment banking and trading operations in China.
The US-based bank is seeking licences to “underwrite yuan-denominated shares and conduct trading for clients, as well as a license for futures brokering within the next two months” in China, Bloomberg reported, citing a source.
The report said a chief executive was being lined up and eventually 100 people will be hired.
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Citibank is among foreign banks hoping to cash in on the opening up of China’s capital markets to overseas finance. Until recently foreign companies needed to form joint-ventures with domestic firms to operate in the country. But those rules have been relaxed and now some of the biggest names on Wall Street – including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are hoping to get a handle into the market.
Last week Citibank said it would exit consumer markets in China, India and 11 other mostly Asian markets as it reported a sharp rise in global earnings.
The move was explained as part of a desire to “double down” on wealth management in the country. A Wealth Connect initiative, like the Stocks and Bonds Connect schemes before it, is hoped to link onshore and offshore trading and boost China’s fund-management businesses.
Citigroup will focus its Asian consumer banking business on Singapore and Hong Kong, according to a spokeswoman, who added that the UK and the United Arab Emirates would be the other global hubs.
Citigroup's global consumer banking business at the end of 2020 had $6.5 billion in revenue and $123.9bn in deposits. The bank has about 200 branches in Asia.