David Basra and William Cumming, Citigroup

  • 22 Jun 2005
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Name: David Basra
Institution: Citigroup
Date promoted: August 2004
Title: Co-head of European structured finance
Previous job before promotion: Managing director, structured finance
Years in capital markets: 8
First job in capital markets: Associate in Citibank structured finance group
Favourite deal worked on: Holmes Financing (No 1), Abbey National's first master trust mortgage securitisation, a £2.4bn deal in 2000
Family: Single
Lives in: Kensington, west London
Heroes: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Silver Surfer
Name: William Cumming
Institution: Citigroup
Date promoted: August 2004
Title: Co-head of European structured finance
Previous job before promotion: Managing director, structured finance
Years in capital markets: 14
First job in capital markets: Manager in Citibank's credit card business in New York
Favourite deal worked on: Land Securities Capital Markets plc, the £2.3bn financing package Citi arranged for UK property company Land Securities in 2004
Family: Married with two children
Lives in: Mayfair, London, but commutes to family home in New York
Heroes: Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Robin Williams


Ask anyone involved with European securitisation which investment bank has had the biggest impact on the market in the last five years, and whatever their affiliations, they would have to say Citigroup.

The bank's remarkable success in both league tables and innovation has many roots, but the stability of its structured finance team must be an important one.

Last year its head, Marcus Giancaterino, returned to the US to a new job as global head of real estate finance and Citigroup simply promoted the two senior bankers in the team, David Basra and William Cumming.

They report to Giancaterino and Mark Watson, European head of fixed income.

Citi had done the same thing three years earlier, when Bill Young, the team's founder, shocked his colleagues by moving to Goldman Sachs. That time Giancaterino stepped up.

"We showed when Bill Young left that the business didn't miss a heartbeat and if anything pushed it to another level," says Basra. "With Marcus moving up he is still a dominant influence on the group and we want to do it without missing a beat again."

Basra claims that no one has left the 60 strong group since Giancaterino last August.

The two new co-heads' experience has been complementary, with real estate a common area of expertise. Basra, who is 35, specialised in financial institution ABS business, and Cumming, 41, in corporate transactions.

Their strategy as heads of the team is no different from Giancaterino's.

"It is constantly our goal to build and sustain the best franchise in Europe — to strike a balance between profitability, risk, volume and league tables," says Basra. "We want to keep a consistent position in the league table, though some of the profitability has gone out of the flow business — people are doing crazy things and we are not competing for those deals anymore."

Bankers say it is particularly hard to make money in Spain and Italy.

Citi is fourth in this year's league table so far, having finished top in four of the last five years. Basra believes profits this year should match 2004's, which were bigger than 2003's.

But the nature of today's structured finance business is that revenues are extremely lumpy. Basra says Citigroup is not the most profitable bank in the market — Goldman Sachs, for example, eschews flow business almost entirely to concentrate, with a small team, on a few very profitable deals.

But to keep winning those profitable deals, Citigroup has to stay ahead of the competition by spotting the next big thing. As Basra puts it: "When everyone turns up to the party, we generally try to leave."

This year Citi is betting on German housing and non-performing loans (NPLs). The bet is a big one.

The bank was sole provider of Eu1.8bn of senior debt to back Lone Star's acquisition of Eu3.6bn of NPLs from Hypo Real Estate in September. Together with Morgan Stanley, it supplied Eu1.8bn of senior and mezzanine finance for ThyssenKrupp's Eu2bn sale of 48,000 flats to investors led by Morgan Stanley in February.

Citi was the sole financier on the £1bn purchase in March of 73 hotels from InterContinental by a consortium led by Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners.

And with Barclays Capital, Citigroup is arranging Eu7bn of debt to finance the acquisition by Deutsche Annington, part of Guy Hands's Terra Firma fund, of 150,000 flats being sold by E.On, the German electricity company — as well as arranging the refinancing of Deutsche Annington's existing debt.

At the moment most of these are lucrative bridge financings; but they could be securitisations next year. If the bet proves to have been the right one, Citigroup is likely to clean up.

If that were not enough, Cumming believes Basel II will produce a new wave of deals.

"Basel II will be a complete reversal of people's motivation to do synthetics," he says. "Instead of trying to get rid of the super-senior risk they will be trying to sell the junior tranches."

And Cumming believes the European banking industry is about to consolidate fast. "With consolidation will come rationalisation in lending — it's already happened in real estate," Cumming says, "It is going to rationalise pricing, fees and spreads."

It may sound like wishful thinking, but as a structured finance tipster, Citigroup is hard to beat.

  • 22 Jun 2005

All International Bonds

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • 13 Mar 2017
1 JPMorgan 94,925.33 384 8.39%
2 Citi 87,531.58 331 7.74%
3 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 84,341.49 288 7.46%
4 Barclays 75,288.19 241 6.66%
5 Goldman Sachs 68,504.71 208 6.06%

Bookrunners of All Syndicated Loans EMEA

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • 14 Mar 2017
1 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 10,650.87 23 11.13%
2 Deutsche Bank 8,169.49 17 8.53%
3 HSBC 6,243.46 23 6.52%
4 Citi 4,355.35 13 4.55%
5 SG Corporate & Investment Banking 4,273.37 17 4.46%

Bookrunners of all EMEA ECM Issuance

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • 25 Apr 2017
1 JPMorgan 7,281.63 28 8.86%
2 Deutsche Bank 5,994.13 30 7.29%
3 UBS 5,678.69 26 6.91%
4 Citi 4,934.67 35 6.00%
5 Goldman Sachs 4,802.16 24 5.84%