Citi to monitor how often private bankers make client calls: report

Citi is starting to require its private bankers to document client calls to boost its underperforming wealth management division, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times.

Private bankers must connect at least once every 90 days and submit call reports detailing every conversation with clients, the sources said.

The new performance metrics come from a bank that adopted a more flexible approach to remote work than many of its peers. But it also, at times, has enforced its share of hard stops — especially as it is trimming its headcount.

“Enhancing client experience is our number-one focus. Documenting and sharing client feedback is one way to ensure we’re delivering for them, and is a standard practice within Citi and across the industry,” a Citi spokesperson told the Financial Times.

Some Citi employees have expressed their disappointment with the latest requirement, saying it was not a productive use of their time, sources familiar with the matter told the outlet.

In the past, the New York City-based lender has asked its staff to file call logs for compliance reasons, but it was not a requirement that weighed into performance decisions. Many private bankers at competitor banks have told FT that their organizations have encouraged them to log calls, but it was not mandatory.

The directive comes from Andy Sieg, who joined as Citi’s head of global wealth unit in September from Bank of America. He told employees he wants to sell more investment products to clients and charge fees to manage their assets, sources told the Financial Times.

In a March 2023 memo, CEO Jane Fraser said growing Citi’s wealth management unit is a “core pillar of our strategy [that] will improve our business mix by adding more fee-based revenue and drive improved returns.”  

But the wealth unit “isn’t where it needs to be,” Fraser told investors last month, according to the Financial Times.

Citi’s wealth revenue fell 3% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, and the bank’s private-bank revenues sunk 10% over the same span, according to last month’s earnings report.

The lender is on a path to reorganizing its management and operations aimed to weed out excess layers of management and consolidate roles whose efforts duplicate one another. The lender has been selling businesses and cutting its workforce, and it expects to incur as much as $1 billion in severance and restructuring costs this year.

After a reboot, Citi’s unit that encompassed personal banking and wealth management split to comprise only wealth management as one of the five prongs in the new structure.