Citi seeking to sell retail FX arm: source
By Patrick Graham
LONDON (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote) is seeking a buyer for its retail forex brokerage CitiFX Pro as part of efforts to streamline the banking world's biggest currency trading operation, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.
Citi has cut staffing and computerized many elements of its currency business in recent years. Market sources say it has aggressively rationalized its institutional client base in the "prime broking" sector since the start of this year.
But the sale, initially reported by industry website financemagnates.com, would come at a time when other banks are beginning to think about reinvesting in currency trading, drawn by an improvement in volumes and returns over the past year.
CitiFX Pro is the bank's easily accessible online forex trading service, offering professional individual traders and smaller institutional players access to 130-plus currency pairs on several platforms backed up by Citi infrastructure.
It is part of a sub-sector of the forex market whose reputation has taken a hammering since the collapse of a handful of businesses, and hefty losses for others, after the Swiss franc's surge in January.
New York-based Citi has pared back internationally in recent years, pulling out of retail banking in markets such as Japan. Industry surveys continue to rank it as the single biggest banking player in the $5 trillion a day forex market.
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