Citigroup is currently engaged in discussions with British rival HSBC to sell its retail-wealth business in China, according to a source familiar with the matter. The deal, expected to be officially announced next month, forms part of Citigroup’s larger strategy to withdraw from consumer banking operations outside of its home market. In 2021, the US bank had already revealed plans to scale back its overseas retail banking business and wind down its consumer-banking operations in China.
The retail-wealth segment in China covers individuals with assets ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. At present, Citi’s China retail wealth deposits and assets under management fall between $3 billion and $4 billion. The sale will have an impact on approximately 400 employees in China who are anticipated to transition to HSBC, as stated by the source.
HSBC, the largest bank in Hong Kong, has refrained from commenting on the potential deal. Two years ago, the bank committed to investing more than $3.5 billion in building its Asian wealth business over a five-year period. Since then, HSBC has ramped up recruitment efforts, including the hiring of 1,400 wealth managers in mainland China for the purpose of insurance sales and investment advice through its branchless venture known as Pinnacle.
As part of her efforts to restructure the executive ranks and remove overlapping roles, Citigroup’s Chief Executive, Jane Fraser, announced this month that the international structure of the bank will be simplified, resulting in the elimination of certain regional jobs.