Citi purposefully set out to become the Asian market leader for US equity linked products over a year ago. Its success is evident through private banking gatekeepers recognising it as the best provider in this space. Citi has achieved this award through strong alignment of trading, structuring and sales across teams in Asia and in the US.“This is a hugely important product for our business,” says Bernard Wai, regional head of private client solutions at Citi, “and one where we are happy to have delivered on a clear strategy to put Citi firmly on top for these products.”
“Our US traders have made a remarkable effort to understand and leverage this flow. One of our US traders remarked that it now would be a great loss not to check our bidding volatility,” continues Wai, alluding to how Citi can offer such competitive pricing.The US team at Citi has firmly cemented its relationship with the Hong Kong team – US trading begins its day at the Hong Kong opening bell. Citi has been able to deliver very strong risk elasticity over US underlyings during Hong Kong trading hours, on occasion totalling around US$400 million of daily notional during Asia’s morning hours.
Three factors – reactivity, competitiveness and proactivity – have contributed strongly to Citi’s success this year, succinctly noted by Martin Stackler, APAC head of structuring and issuance, multi asset group at Citi.
“Citi can be highly responsive to our clients because of the tight coordination between the Hong Kong and US teams,” he says. “Our price competitiveness has been strong and also consistent. We are also increasingly proactive about the solutions we offer into the private bank segment.”
Whilst familiar products such as ELNs and accumulators remain in demand, Citi has developed a diverse and expanding product offering, delivering increasingly customised solutions such as autocallables. It has also migrated into enhanced beta strategies created by the global Citi Investment Strategy team. These strategies originated for institutional clients, but are gaining increasing traction from UHNW clients seeking enhanced yield or risk management.
Citi has also been able to keenly prepare for hotly anticipated US underlyings, including offering exposure to Alibaba rapidly after the IPO was completed. Highly competitive pricing, a wide and flexible offering, and strong lines of interconnectivity between the bank’s diverse departments have all contributed to Citi being voted 2014’s Best Provider of US Equity-linked Structured Products.