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Citigroup CEO to visit Korea early next month

Pandit may meet with regulatory officials to discuss investment


Citigroup Inc. chief executive Vikram Pandit plans to visit Seoul early next month as part of the global investment bank’s expansion policy in Asia, a source said Thursday.
Vikram Pandit
Vikram Pandit

“On the occasion of the U.S.-based financial group’s 200th anniversary of its foundation, CEO Pandit will pay a visit to Korea and several other Asian countries in early February,” the source said.

While his coming trip is seemingly focused on the group’s expanding presence here, the timing could draw interest as financial regulators are to launch a general review of Citibank Korea in February.

Apart from the CEO’s visit to the headquarters of Citibank Korea, the source raised the possibility that he may seek to meet with senior regulatory officials.

The source said: “Citibank Korea has been under close regulatory watch for its critically hefty payout of dividends to shareholders.”

He said the CEO may visit the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service.

“Talks may be arranged with FSC chairman Kim Seok-dong or FSS Gov. Kwon Hyouk-se.”

A research analyst, who asked not to be named, predicted that Pandit might promise the group’s active investment in the Korean market during his visit to Korea.

He said it was unlikely that the CEO would discuss the coming general review of the Korean unit with financial authorities.

In 2011, the Citigroup CEO met with regulatory officials during his visits to Singapore and Japan.

“Irrespective of his possible meeting with Korean regulatory officials, it is necessary for the nation to pay attention to the world’s largest financial group’s assessment of the growth potential of Korea.

Last year, prominent figures in the U.S. financial industry, including Pandit, expressed their keen interest in the huge funds managed by the National Pension Service of Korea at an event in New York City.

“Citigroup has been carrying out a global manpower restructuring,” an analyst said. “Amid financial woes in the U.S. and European markets, Asia could certainly be the most attractive target of investment and growth.”

In 2008, Pandit met with officials at the FSC and the Bank of Korea during his first visit to Seoul as the chief executive.

By Kim Yon-se
(kys@heraldcorp.com)
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