Finance

Citi investment bank boss says flexible working could give it a talent edge over rivals

Citigroup’s plans to offer flexible working to its employees could give it the edge in attracting talent over its Wall Street rivals, according to the co-head of its investment bank.

Manolo Falco, co-head of Citigroup’s banking, capital markets and advisory told the bank’s annual media summit for Europe, the Middle East and Africa that its policy — where the majority of staff are expected to adopt a hybrid model, spending three days in the office and two at home — could make it a more attractive employer to staff seeking more flexibility.

“We see the flexible model as an opportunity to have more balanced talent,” he said, adding that moves from other banks including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, who are pushing for more staff to return to the office, presents a chance for Citi to stand out from its rivals.

“We think that may be an advantage for us because we don’t see people wanting to go completely back and I think the flexible model will be good,” he said.

READ Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman hints at widespread office return

JPMorgan has told employees that it expects them to start planning for a return to the office, and could even mandate US staff to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in order to ramp up employee numbers. Goldman Sachs has also been increasing staff numbers in the US and UK, while Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman told a conference in June that he would be “very disappointed” if staff were not back in the office by September.

“If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office, and we want you in the office,” Gorman said.

By contrast, Citigroup chief executive Jane Fraser sent a staff-wide memo in March saying the bank expected most employees to work in a hybrid model, with two days at home and three days in the office as a part of a sweeping set of changes aimed at improving work-life balance.

Falco said he expected employee numbers to increase in its UK offices as Covid-19 restrictions left on 19 July, but said flexibility would remain.

READJPMorgan, Goldman, Deutsche Bank push back wider return to UK office as ‘Freedom Day’ delayed

“We do think this is an apprentice model and that the juniors have to learn the business by being together,” he said. “At the same time, we do think that you don’t need to be in the office all the time and this has shown us you can work from home and that can have great advantages for quality of life.”

Citigroup is aiming to add to its roster of senior dealmakers as part of its plans to grab market share from rivals and challenge for top three positions in the investment banking league tables, executives to Financial News previously.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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