Citigroup Moves Sales Traders to Cover for Ousted Hong Kong Team
(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. moved a team of sales traders in Hong Kong to work on its equities desk to support clients after eight staff were pushed out in the wake of an internal investigation.
Among those moved were Ryan Clendenny, Will Faulkner, Annie Wong, Anthony Levenston and Jensen Feng, according to an internal email sent Sunday by Richard Heyes, Asia-Pacific head of equities. The bank held calls late Friday to reassure clients about the departures, Heyes also said in the email, the contents of which were confirmed by spokesman James Griffiths.
The moves came after officials at New York-based Citigroup ousted the employees in the wake of an investigation into whether certain traders properly disclosed the bank’s own financial interest when facilitating stock trades, people familiar with the matter said in January. The scrutiny followed an industry-wide probe last year by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission into whether brokers in the city are providing the best possible prices to their clients when executing trades.
Griffiths said by email on Monday that Citigroup had seen “steady” client activity during the day.
Among the departures were Philip Shaw, a senior equities executive, and trader Cindy Lui, who had already been suspended as a result of the review, the people said in January.
Officials at the U.S. lender focused on whether its traders properly disclosed if the bank was acting as an agent or a principal in executing orders, one of the people said. In an agency trade, a brokerage acts as an intermediary only, receiving a fee for matching buyers and sellers. Acting as a principal is when a firm buys stocks from a client, taking the position on to its balance sheet, and sells them to another, hoping to gain from the difference.
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