Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 February 2020

Citigroup to hire 2,500 programmers for its investment banking and trading unit

The lender is bulking up on coders as technology reshapes the business

Employees work on the trading floor at the new Citigroup headquarters in New York. The lender said it plans to add 2,500 programers and computer scientists to its staff this year. Bloomberg
Employees work on the trading floor at the new Citigroup headquarters in New York. The lender said it plans to add 2,500 programers and computer scientists to its staff this year. Bloomberg

Citigroup plans to recruit 2,500 programmers this year for the unit that houses its traders and investment bankers, bulking up on coders and data scientists as technology reshapes the business.

Roughly three-quarters of the company’s trade orders last year were electronic, according to Stuart Riley, global head of operations and technology for the bank’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG). The unit will add programmers in locations from New York to Chennai, India.

The hires reflect “what we are building in technology and why we are focused on making salespeople and traders more effective at servicing our clients”, Mr Riley said. “Technology is augmenting what humans do by making better use of data.”

Global banks are investing billions in a race to apply technologies that make front-office staff more efficient and keep clients trading. Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase are among other global financial institutions that are hiring as computer specialists change the face of trading floors across Wall Street.

JPMorgan spends $11 billion (Dh40.37bn) on technology every year, while New York-based Citigroup budgets roughly $8.5bn, or about 20 per cent of its total expenses. Bank of America said it spends approximately $10bn on technology, with about $3bn of that going to new projects.

Citigroup has started reaping the benefits of its technology investment, and said it will help the lender save as much as $600 million in 2020. The bank, which already has 23,000 technology specialists in its ICG business globally, said the new roles will be in London, New York, Shanghai, Toronto, Dublin, Pune and Chennai in India, and Tampa, Florida.

Tech giants too are waging a battle for talent in Citigroup’s hometown. Facebook said it is planning to hire more than 3,000 people over the next three to five years in New York City, while Amazon announced plans to lease space in Manhattan that will house 1,500 workers.

One of the Citigroup initiatives uses artificial intelligence to understand message exchanges between salespeople and clients to then automatically provide news, analytics, prices or trade ideas to the sales person, Mr Riley said.

About two years ago, the bank had 30 spaces for a Python coding class and was inundated with requests, according to Mr Riley. It now has 1,600 front-office staff trained in the computer language.

“The delineation between traders and technologists in markets is disappearing,” Mr Riley said.

Updated: January 6, 2020 05:30 PM

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