Blockchain for Banking Capital markets

Citi building 100 strong digital assets team


Today Reuters reported that Citibank is creating 100 roles in a digital asset push targeting institutional clients. Puneet Singhvi will lead the new Institutional Clients Group (ICG) team. His existing role as head of Blockchain and Digital Assets within Global Markets is being taken over by UK-based Shobhit Maini and Vasant Viswanathan.

Viswanathan described his previous Director role in the markets group as managing initiatives for digital securities, digital currencies, crypto, and enterprise DLT.

We found digital assets related roles advertised on Linkedin, but not a lot of interest from candidates, highlighting the challenge of competing for talent with cryptocurrency startups. A London-based role within ICG for operational risk for digital assets had zero applicants despite being advertised a month ago. Likewise, a New York role for a Digital Assets Investment Associate within its wealth division. Another NY role within Markets for a Blockchain and FMI Strategy Lead faired better with four responses.

When rumors of Citi’s team building first emerged in May, we outlined how most institutions have been building teams in wealth management, cryptocurrency custody, and the institutional trading and transaction side. 

The two digital assets groupings, cryptocurrencies and tokenized assets, are gradually merging. On asset tokenization, two initiatives in which Citi has been involved are gearing up. The Swiss Digital Exchange (SDX) launched last week, with Citi named as a participant back in 2019. And in Singapore, there’s the imminent launch of Marketnode, the blockchain bonds joint venture between SGX and Temasek.

But Citi’s blockchain activities are far broader. It’s involved in several trade finance initiatives. It’s a participant in collateral management platform HQLAX, and it’s a major investor in SETL, which is active in securities and currencies.