June 4, 2020 / 12:46 PM / a month ago

Citigroup forms new strategic advisory group to merge insights, data

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

(Reuters) - Citigroup Inc (C.N) said on Thursday it is forming a new strategic advisory group within its investment bank.

The new group of roughly 80 bankers merges the Financial Strategy Group and the Shareholder Advisory and Data Science group and will be lead by Muir Paterson who has been running Citi’s activist defense group.

In addition to shareholder defense, the group will leverage its data capabilities to serve a broader set of clients and offer insights into client’s asset bases, corporate finance structure and tax strategies, executives told Reuters.

“Bringing these businesses closer together will help scale their respective impact and harness our intellectual capital more effectively,” the global heads of Citigroup’s Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory Group Tyler Dickson and Manolo Falcó said in a memo to staff.

This year the number of campaigns launched by activists fell by 40% due to the coronavirus pandemic but companies remain concerned about potential proxy battles since activists have recently launched campaigns against larger companies such as AT&T.

“Our shareholder advisory group has been helping clients look beyond the near-term to assess their potential vulnerabilities from a defense perspective, as well as consider opportunities for potential growth and M&A as the market slowly finds some stability,” Paterson said in a statement.

Rivals such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) have also launched initiatives to fuse shareholder defense and data science in recent years.

Last year, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley MS.S ranked as the top two advisors for companies targeted by activist investors. Citigroup did not make the top 10.

Reporting by Imani Moise

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