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Citigroup's Vikram reiterates commitment to Asia

Vanessa Doctor

3 August 2009

Wall Street powerhouse's chief sees ongoing expansion in China and India. Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit says the Wall Street bank will continue expanding into key Asian countries, especially in India and China, economic powerhouses with fast-growing wealth-management markets.

Pandit criticized banks that sold their Asian assets when the global financial crisis first erupted. "Maybe for them China is a financial play, but for us China is an important part of Citi's strategy in the future," he told the Wall Street Journal.

Local clout

Besides having one of the largest banking footprints in Asia, Citi Private Bank chairman Deepak Sharma and other investment-side heads are based in Asia, reinforcing the bank's commitment to its private banking businesses and clients in the region, a Citi Asia Pacific spokesman told FWR sister publication WealthBriefing last week.

Citi says it has 300 private bankers and product specialists in Asia. They serve more than 6,000 high-net-worth clients, including a third of Asia's non-Japanese billionaires.

Asia hasn't been all smooth sailing for Citi, however. In 2004, regulators forced the firm's private banking arm out of Japan for a series of bootches that syarted with negligent oversight in what turned out to be a case of money laundering. -FWR

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