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Citi Adds 3 Advisors, $750M to Private Wealth

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As Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup (C) continue to dispute the value of the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney joint venture, Citi is moving to expand its own private wealth-management business.

On Monday, Citi said it had added three advisors with nearly $750 million in client assets. These additions, the company notes, are part of its plan to boost Citigold, its high-end banking and wealth-management offering in major cities nationwide.

“Adding Joel [Basciani], Rob [Loeb] and Steve [Collins] to the Citi Personal Wealth Management team underscores our commitment to investing in talent that shares our devotion to building a client-first culture,” said Frank Consalo (left), director of field management for investments at Citi Personal Wealth Management, in a statement.  “We’re pleased these three highly-regarded advisors have joined more than 30 others in choosing Citi as the best firm to serve their growing client base.”

Basciani and Loeb join Citi from HSBC and will be based in New York, while Stephen Collins comes to Citi from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) and will work in Tarrytown, N.Y.

According to Citigroup, more than 35 financial advisors with over $1.7 billion in client assets have joined Citi Personal Wealth Management this year. In the United States, Citigold now has about $100 billion in client balances (of which some $20 billion are investment assets) and includes more than 300 financial advisors. This represents about $66 million in average investment assets per rep.

Recently, Morgan Stanley—led by James Gorman (right)—announced that the number of MSSB advisors in the Global Wealth Management Unit dropped 2% (or 259) from the first quarter and 6% (or 1,053) from last year to 16,934 as of June 30. Total assets under management stood at $1.71 trillion, 2% lower from the previous quarter but 1% higher than a year ago. MSSB counted 17,193 advisors in the previous quarter and 17,987 advisors a year ago.

These global reps produced average trailing 12-month fees and commissions of $775,000, 2% higher than revenues last year of $762,000. They managed average client assets of $101 million, unchanged from last quarter but 7% higher than last year’s figure of $94,000.

Morgan Stanley owns 51% of MSSB, while Citi owns 49%. Morgan Stanley would like to purchase an additional 14% of the venture.

Citi group has placed the full value of MSSB at $22 billion, while Morgan Stanley says it’s worth only $9 billion (its SEC filings put the value closer to $12 billion).

Both banks are now working with Perella Weinberg Partners on an appraisal, which could give it a value of closer to the $15 billion that Wall Street analysts have given it. The process could be wrapped up by September.


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