Signage is displayed outside the Citibank Operations Center in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.. (Photographer: Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg)

Citigroup Poaches Three Women to Be Managing Directors in Asia

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. hired three women as managing directors for its markets business in Asia, part of its push for gender parity at the division.

The U.S. bank appointed Laura Atherley from Nomura Holdings Inc. for its markets relationship management unit, and Julie Kerr, who was previously at Ernst & Young, was named Asia-Pacific head of custody and fund services, according to two memos obtained by Bloomberg. The third will be hired as early as next week, said James Griffiths, a Hong Kong-based Citigroup spokesman. He confirmed the contents of both memos and declined to share the name of the third appointment.

Citigroup is joining banks worldwide in boosting efforts to close a longstanding gender gap, aiming to have an equal number of male and female managing directors at its markets division in Asia within three-to-five years, up from the current 80:20 split in favor of men. The bank had about 130 managing directors in the Asia-Pacific markets and securities business, a person familiar with the firm’s operations said in March.

Citigroup has created hard targets for raising the percentages of women and African Americans in management positions by 2021, according to an internal memo signed by Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat last week. The bank plans to boost the global share of women holding positions ranging from assistant vice president to managing director to 40 percent from 37 percent.

Women make up the majority of U.S. staff at several banks but are underrepresented at the top. Women made up 32 percent of the executives at Citigroup at the end of last year, up from 24 percent in 2016, Bloomberg News reported in June. At Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, that figure was under 22 percent, while at Wells Fargo & Co. it dropped to 29 percent from 37 percent the previous year.

“It’s fair to say that Citi are leading from the front in their ambition to appoint or promote more senior women but the industry is still not doing well enough,” said Nick Marsh, CEO at Hong Kong-based headhunting firm Meraki Executive Search & Consulting. He cited lack of encouragement at senior levels that cause firms to lose female talent, among other reasons.

Both of Citigroup’s new Asia recruits will be based in Hong Kong. Atherley, who headed Asia-Pacific equities for the U.K. and Europe at JPMorgan Chase & Co. from 2002 to 2009, will manage relationships with key clients based in the city and will report directly to Bob MacDonald, head of relationship management in the region, according to the memo. Kerr replaces CP Yap, who left the bank. She was a partner in EY’s financial services, wealth and asset management division.

Citigroup’s markets division includes the primary and secondary business in equities and fixed income, as well as sales and client trading across fixed income, commodities and currencies, and equities. The bank predicts its Asia equities business will post its best results this year since the financial crisis, after revenue increased 33 percent in the first half of 2018.

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