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Citi’s cheap happy junior bankers in Malaga are not so grateful

As Citi proceeds with its restructuring and 20,000 job cuts, all does not seem entirely well in the Malaga office where the US bank employs around 30 junior investment bankers who theoretically have a great life. 

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Citi isn’t commenting, but multiple sources say the Malaga analysts have been informed that, contrary to their aspirations, they won’t be able to transfer to the London office in the future. This is a problem because many seem to have been working hard for comparatively low pay with precisely this goal in mind.

”Contrary to all the official messaging, the vast majority of Malaga analysts didn’t choose to work in Spain for a better lifestyle but because they couldn’t find jobs in London,” says one Malaga insider. “We’ve been working London investment banking hours for circa £50k salaries and low bonuses for nearly two years now in the hope of getting a transfer to London. Now, we’ve been told this won’t happen.”

Another Citi junior in Malaga confirmed that the unlikelihood of a London transfer was recently communicated to the analysts on the programme. 

Citi set up its Malaga office in 2022 and promised juniors there eight-hour workdays and weekends off. In return, they were said to earn total compensation, including salary and bonus of up to $90k, instead of the circa $180k paid to juniors in Citi’s harder driving London office. 

In fact, Citi juniors say they’ve been working 70-90 hour weeks in Malaga in the hope that their zeal would incline the bank to transfer them to London. Now that it’s become clear that it won’t, morale is said to have plummeted.

Not all Citi’s Malaga juniors are equally disgruntled, though. One tells us that the complainants have only themselves to blame. “The root problem is that many of the people in Malaga didn’t really want to be here and were just students who couldn’t get jobs in London,” he says. “They don’t like living in Malaga while all their friends are in London, and they want the classic investment banking lifestyle. But no one’s hiring in London and they’ve decided to denigrate the Malaga programme as a result.”

He says this is unfair and that the frustration is self-inflicted. “I personally am very satisfied with the programme here. Citi never promised that a move to London was certain, and it never encouraged them to work as hard as they did – instead we are told not to work overtime.”

Citi’s Malaga programme is nearly two years old. If the bank doesn't intend to transfer analysts in Spain to more senior roles in London, it may need to find other ways to retain them. Promotion opportunities in Malaga are thought to be limited given that the office comprises mostly analysts, managed by a few VPs.  

Some Malaga juniors are fretting that the programme will be discontinued at Citi following the departure of its key supporters internally. Senior Spanish bankers like Paco Ybarra and Manolo Falco are thought to have been instrumental in setting the Malaga office up. But Ybarra left Citi last year and Falco is now a mere vice chairman instead of co-head of investment banking. At the same time, María Díaz del Río, the former Citi chief of staff for EMEA for banking and capital markets, is no longer focusing on the Malaga office. "The Malaga experiment was a pet project for the Spanish faction running Citi EMEA," says one junior there. "With that gone, senior people might start to wonder about its future."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Do
    24 April 2024

    Please do update the article once the disgruntled staff have left and they need replacements. Better yet, just PM me, thanks. DT.

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