Pandit's Legacy

Why did Vikram choose yesterday to resign? Citi's results were neither poor enough to justify him being forced out nor were they good enough for him to say he'd done his job. We may never know the true reasons (Boardroom coup? Salary arguments? First rat off a sinking ship?) but we can nevertheless examine his legacy.

The headline numbers show Pandit presiding over an 89% fall in the share price of Citi, pretty terrible especially when you consider that HSBC and JPM have been broadly flat over the same period. There has also been vast amounts of accounting wizardry done so that nobody knows what the hell is going on there. They have struggled to dispose of toxic assets, sold good assets at a loss and much more.

However, look at what Pandit has had to deal with. He's had to reduce costs dramatically - both by cutting compensation and headcount, manage a global behemoth which endured a forced bailout by the government, cater to shareholders wanting buybacks and then being denied that opportunity by the regulators AND double the Core T1 equity Basel III demands. I doubt if others would have done any better than Vikram.

Management announced 'no change in strategy' so it will be interesting if nothing else to see where they go from here. Will they buy UBS's investment banking arm? Will they focus on emerging markets and corporate banking? Will they merge with Morgan Stanley? How will they handle their colossal mortgage write downs? We shall have to wait and see....