Citigroup Names Bibbey for Spot-Foreign Exchange Trading

Citigroup Inc., the second-biggest currency trader, named Richard Bibbey to run its global spot foreign-exchange business as the bank seeks to more closely align its voice and electronic trading of currencies.

Bibbey is currently in charge of some electronic trading for the New York-based bank, according to an internal memo today from Jeff Feig, who oversees foreign exchange for the Group of 10 nations. Michael Plavnik, who runs short-term interest-rate trading in London, will assume responsibility for the business globally, according to the memo. Scott Helfman, a Citigroup spokesman, confirmed the memo’s contents.

Banks are shifting more activity onto electronic platforms as profit margins shrink and clients demand greater transparency in pricing and transaction charges. The move has been hastened by a widening probe of the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market that has seen the dismissal or suspension of more than 21 currency traders, including at least three at Citigroup.

Bibbey’s promotion “is in recognition of the importance of non-machine flow trading to the business,” Feig wrote in the memo. “With Richard’s oversight, the spot traders will get access to more and better tools to help them drive client connectivity and revenue growth.”

Feig also named Andrew Grosso to oversee foreign exchange in North America, where he’ll report to Suni Harford, head of markets for the continent, according to the memo. The changes were reported earlier today by the Wall Street Journal.

Electronic dealing, which accounted for 66 percent of all currency transactions in 2013 and 20 percent in 2001, will increase to 76 percent within five years, according to Aite Group LLC, a Boston-based consulting firm that reviewed Bank for International Settlements data. About 81 percent of spot trading -- the buying and selling of currency for immediate delivery -- will be electronic by 2018, Aite said.

Citigroup is the second-largest trader of currencies, behind Deutsche Bank AG, and ahead of Barclays Plc and UBS AG, according to a May survey by Euromoney magazine.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.