Citi hires Pankaj Vaish as head of markets for South Asia

The former head of equities at Nomura rejoins Citi as the US bank's previous head of markets for South Asia is said to be moving to Reliance Industries.

Citi has hired Pankaj Vaish as head of markets for South Asia, it said in a release Friday. Citi didn't explicitly point this out, but Vaish is seemingly being brought on board to replace V Srikanth, Citi's previous head of markets for South Asia, who was reported last week to be leaving for a new challenge as deputy chief financial officer of Reliance Industries, the Indian oil, gas and petrochemicals company led by Mukesh Ambani.

Vaish joins from Nomura Securities where he was a managing director and head of equities. He has more than 19 years of capital markets experience across product lines and, according to the release, has in-depth knowledge of hedge funds. He is also no newcomer to Citi, having previously worked with the US bank in New York as MD of proprietary trading. Earlier in his career he was also, among other things, responsible for Citi's North America equity derivatives trading and structuring; global commodity derivatives; and fixed income derivatives trading activities.

In his new role, Vaish will be responsible for Citi's fixed-income, currency, credit, commodities and equities business in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which essentially means he will be in charge of all of the bank's sales and trading in these countries. He will report to Rodrigo Zorilla, head of global markets for Asia-Pacific, and to Pramit Jhaveri, CEO of Citi India.

"I'm confident that under [Vaish's] leadership we will further build on the existing momentum," said Zorilla in a written comment. "His extensive experience in markets and trading, complemented by his client relationships will help us build on the robust markets business created by the team under the strong leadership of Srikanth."

Citi has seen a lot of appointments and promotions in South Asia and India this year, sparked by a few key people leaving. At the very top, Mark Robinson resigned from his position as CEO for South Asia in March after just 15 months in the job to join ANZ. A week later, Citi appointed Pramit Jhaveri, formerly vice-chairman of Asia investment banking and head of global banking in India, to chief country officer and CEO of India, leaving the country heads in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to report directly to Shirish Apte, one of the bank's two co-CEOs for Asia-Pacific.

This opened up from the promotion of Ravi Kapoor to Jhaveri's former role as head of global banking for India. Kapoor was previously head of capital markets origination in India, a job that was subsequently given to Rajiv Nayar, formerly head of Citi's capital management group in Asia-Pacific and before that a managing director in the leveraged and acquisition finance team within the Asia-Pacific capital markets origination group in Hong Kong.

In March, Citi also promoted Keshav Sanghi to head of equities for India following the departure of Nikhil Nagle, who plans to devote himself to a foundation focusing on India's wildlife, forests and tribal population, as well as the country's natural heritage. Sanghi's promotion came just two months after he joined Citi as head of sales and deputy head of equities for India.

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