Citigroup plans to close its Smith Barney brokerage business in Taiwan, which employs about 50 people, as it reshuffles its Asian business, a bank spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.
Separately, Citi is in talks to sell its Australian retail brokerage business to National Australia Bank Ltd, Australia's top lender by assets, according to a report on Wednesday.
Both moves come as Citi undergoes a massive, global overhaul after suffering heavy subprime mortgage related losses, including a $9.83 billion fourth-quarter loss. Earlier this month, Citi announced a revamp of its US residential mortgage business, aiming to save $200 million per year.
Jack Sung, spokesman for Citi Global Wealth Management Asia-Pacific, said the Smith Barney operation in Taiwan will be closed in the second quarter. The unit employs around 50 people.
The bank will also integrate Smith Barney with its private bank in Singapore and Hong Kong, while the broking business in Australia and India will be unaffected by the move, Citigroup said in a statement.
Citi said institutional clients of Smith Barney would continue to be served by a dedicated team of financial advisers.
Citi is one the major private banks in Asia competing against UBS and HSBC and has seen its revenue, net income and client assets grow at an average annual rate of 15-25 per cent in the last five years. (Reuters)
Citi to shutter Smith Barney brokerage in Taiwan