Citi to hire 100 for push into digital assets

As part of the effort, the bank tapped Puneet Singhvi to be its new head of digital assets inside the institutional clients group.

Citigroup Inc. is looking to hire 100 people as part of a new push into digital assets inside its institutional business, according to a person familiar with the matter.

As part of the effort, the firm tapped Puneet Singhvi to be its new head of digital assets inside the institutional clients group, according to a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg News. He will report to Emily Turner, who oversees business development for the broader group. 

“We are focused on assessing the needs of our clients in the digital-asset space,” Citigroup said in an emailed statement. “Prior to offering any products and services, we are studying these markets, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape and associated risks in order to meet our own regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations.”

Citigroup’s latest hiring push comes as the country’s biggest banks increasingly look for ways to expand into the wild world of cryptocurrencies. Bank of America Corp. created a cryptocurrency research team earlier this year, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have begun offering crypto-futures trading.

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Singhvi’s team will provide expertise and outline a strategy for how the different businesses inside Citigroup’s institutional-clients group — which includes trading, securities services, investment banking and its treasury and trade solutions arm — will use blockchain and digital assets. 

“We believe in the potential of blockchain and digital assets including the benefits of efficiency, instant processing, fractionalization, programmability and transparency,” Turner said in the memo to staff. “Puneet and team will focus on engaging with key internal and external stakeholders including clients, startups and regulators.”

Singhvi is joining Turner’s business-development team from Citigroup’s trading business, where he was head of blockchain and digital assets. In that role, he led many of Citigroup’s first steps in the space and oversaw the firm’s relationships with major financial infrastructure providers.

Shobhit Maini and Vasant Viswanathan will now be co-heads of blockchain and digital assets for the firm’s global markets business, reporting to Biswarup Chatterjee, head of innovation for that business. 

The institutional division’s “digital asset efforts are a continuation of our work with blockchain, and are consistent with our strategy to research emerging technologies, collaborate with partners to develop solutions and implement new capabilities enabled by robust governance and controls,” Turner said.  

[More: Goldman Sachs is getting into Bitcoin — who’s next?]

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