Citicorp, the banking giant that at one time appeared to want a toehold in every niche of the banking business, is putting its U.S. asset management unit up for sale, industry sources close to the bank said Monday.
The decision, one of the few by Citicorp to shed an entire line of business, comes when the nation’s largest banking group is looking at any option it has to cut costs and bolster its cash reserves after adding $3 billion to its loan-loss reserves last year for Third World debts.
A Citicorp spokesman declined to comment on the reports of the proposed sale of the asset group, which manages more than $20 billion.
Citicorp’s management group looks after the assets of pension funds and corporations by investing them in various stocks and bonds and charging a fee for this service.
“The money management business for banks has always been a marginally profitable business, yet the market values them reasonably highly. Why not cash in?” said Merrill Lynch analyst Lawrence Cohn.