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Citi hired Deutsche Bank's new EGB trader as it rebuilds its depleted team

If you're a European government bond (EGB) trader, and you're wondering where to apply your talents, Citi might want to hear from you. Citi has lost at least six EGB traders in the past 18 months. The exits keep on coming, and Citi's adding to its depleted team.

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Citi declined to comment for this article, but we understand the bank recently hired Michele Beretta, the European government bonds trader who was last spied joining Deutsche Bank in April 2023. Beretta's entry on the UK's Financial Conduct Authority Register shows him leaving DB in February 2024. He's presumably on gardening leave.

While Beretta is joining Citi, traders are also leaving. Sources say that two mid-ranking traders have left in recent weeks: vice president (VP) Giorgio Paulin and director Rahul Mehra. In other circumstances, the exits of a VP and a director wouldn't be remarkable, but they come after various other departures in the past year. 

Citi's other EGB departures include the senior traders James Konrad and Biagio Lapolla, both of whom joined from Nomura and moved swiftly on again. Konrad arrived from Citi in March 2023 and left again in July '23 for hedge fund Brevan Howard according to the FCA Register. Lapolla, who was based in Milan, joined Citi in May 2022 and left again for Geneva-based Garda Capital Partners in October 2023. 

Ayoub Morsad, another former Nomura trader who went to Citi, joined hedge fund ExodusPoint in February 2024.

Citi isn't the only bank whose EGB traders have left for hedge funds in the past year. Morgan Stanley has had its own spate of exits, including Adam Coles (who left in December '23), Alex Baier (who went to Citadel last September) and Jacques Mouawad (who went to ExodusPoint last July).  The exits are symptomatic of the higher pay on offer in hedge funds, say headhunters. Rates desks in banks are being drained of talent as a result.

Citi may want to find some new senior EGB traders nonetheless. While one macro headhunter says the size of Citi's team means the exits aren't significant, another says it's less about the size of the team than its composition. "They've lost a lot of experience over the last 18 months," he observes. 

One Citi insider observes that in Konrad and Lapolla, the bank lost "two of the most experienced market makers in the field." Paulin and Mehra were understood to have been working on peripheral European EGB trading following Konrad and Lapolla's departures. "They're very understaffed," says one headhunter in the space, adding that Konrad and Lapolla are difficult to replace. 

There's a danger that the exits will continue. One Citi EGB trader says management at the bank has become "a lot more conservative with regards to risk taking" since senior people left. Hedge funds may seem even more appealing employers as a result.

Citi ranked #2 in Agence France Trésor's secondary markets ranking - making it the top-ranked US bank, behind BNP Paribas. 

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Photo by Tusik Only on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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