In the past year Citi has recruited nearly 30 bankers across banking, capital markets and advisory teams in the  10-member Asean region, media reports said. It has hired bankers in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. These countries are some of the bank’s fastest growing markets in Asia Pacific region.

David Biller, who is Citi’s corporate and investment banking head for Asean, said, “We are seeing growth across local Asean companies increasingly going global.” The escalating trade war between the US and China is forcing global companies to move part of their manufacturing base to Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. For example, Crocs shoes, and GoPro cameras have started to produce goods in other countries. 

Vietnam and Thailand have become beneficiaries of the tit-for-tat tariffs that the world’s two superpowers are imposing on each other. “On the inbound, global multinational companies are increasingly investing in Asean and the supply chain shift through many Asean countries is leading to increased opportunities for Citi’s Asean banking network,” he added. 

With Southeast Asia attracting continuous trade flow, global banks are also trying to strengthen their presence in the region.  The diversification in global supply chain is creating new opportunities for corporate investors which might even lead to new markets in Vietnam. 

Citi’s shares rose nearly 40 percent in 2019, outperforming its rivals including JP Morgan, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs. Citi CEO Michael Corbat said in a statement “We navigated an uncertain environment successfully by executing our strategy, and by showing disciplined expense, credit and risk management.”