Citi names new Asia bond syndicate head

After impressing in Australia, James Arnold has been put in charge of the US bank’s Asia Pacific bond syndicate desk.
Arnold collects Citi's "best foreign bank in Australia" award at our Platinum Awards in October.
Arnold collects Citi's "best foreign bank in Australia" award at our Platinum Awards in October.

Citi has made James Arnold its head of debt syndicate in Asia Pacific, filling a role that has been left vacant since Duncan Phillips moved to a financial technology company.

Arnold was previously head of Australian dollar debt syndicate, and was based in Sydney. But he is already familiar to those working on the Asia Pacific desk — after Phillips left Citi in October, Arnold flew to Hong Kong to help the Asian team execute bonds during what proved to be a busy period.

He will now move to Hong Kong full-time, and will report to Benjamin Ng, head of Asia Pacific syndicate and acquisition financing.

The appointment will perhaps come as little surprise to other syndicate bankers. Arnold took responsibility for Citi’s Asia Pacific local currency bond business in January, and when Phillips left the bank, he appeared the obvious candidate for the job.

There is no doubt Citi has seen Australia as a good breeding ground for talent in the past. Last year, Alex Hayes-Griffin — until then Citi’s head of DCM in Australia and New Zealand — took a new job as head of cross-border DCM in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Phillips left Citi in October ahead of a move to fintech firm Ipreo, where he runs the global capital markets team. Ipreo makes the software used by many banks for the allocation of bonds, although Phillips was brought on to help the firm pull-off a more ambitious attempt to earn revenues from capital markets desks.

Arnold’s appointment was announced late on Tuesday in an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia.

Citi is second in the Asia ex-Japan G3 bonds league table this year, according to Dealogic. The firm has worked on deals worth an apportioned $26 billion, behind only HSBC which has executed $29 billion.

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