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American multinational investment bank Citi announced it had appointed Puneet Singhvi to lead the digital assets division of its Institutional Clients Group (ICG) starting on Dec. 1.
In addition to appointing Singhvi on Nov. 22, Citi is hiring 100 additional personnel to for its digital assets division. The move indicates a concerted effort to beef up the financial group’s understanding of digital assets. Singhvi was previously the head of blockchain and digital assets in Citi’s trading business
Citi Group is the world’s largest issuer of credit cards, and its ICG serves corporations, financial institutions, and governments around the world.
An emailed statement from Emily Turner, head of business development at the ICG, hinted that the bank is exploring its options in providing digital assets services to its clients.
“Prior to offering any products and services, we are studying these markets, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape and associated risks in order to meet our own regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations.”
Turner continued by saying, “We believe in the potential of blockchain and digital assets including the benefits of efficiency, instant processing, fractionalization, programmability, and transparency.”
Citi is not the only major U.S. bank hiring crypto talent as Bank of America sought a specialist on Ripple (XRP) in October. Additionally, Yahoo News reported on Nov. 6 that financial institutions have increased crypto hires by 40% in the first half of 2021, and they are attracting this netech talent by increasing pay packages by as much as 50%.
In addition to Citi, other major banks seeking crypto talent include JPMorgan Chase, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Capital One, UBS, Credit Suisse, and Barclays.
Citi Group currently does not currently offer any dedicated digital asset services for its clients, although rumors circulated in late August suggested that it was considering offering Bitcoin futures trading for institutional investors.
Some of Citi’s competitors among the top banks in the USA already offer various services related to digital assets. JP Morgan provides access to six different crypto funds while Bank of America currently offers Bitcoin futures trading for certain clients and operates a crypto research team.