Pandit's meeting with analysts and advisors on Friday proved disappointing for those hoping that Citigroup's integrated banking model would be getting the boot. Shareholders and analysts have been whining about the need for a breakup for months, but they don’t seem to have had any affect on Pandit’s resolve.
Of course, advisors might be pleased to part ways with the rest of the bank and its greedy headlong love affair with CDOs. Smith Barney closed the quarter with lost client assets and advisors scrambling for the door.
In any case, Citi’s new king may want to keep an eye on Oppenheimer analyst and Citi-basher Meredith Whitney, who gave Pandit’s turnaround plan the thumbs down, calling it almost identical to the one former CEO Chuck Prince unveiled a year and a half ago. She also predicted the bank would have to sell off some major business lines by early 2009. Remember, Prince stepped down just “days after Whitney issued her infamous prediction about Citi's dividend and placed an ‘underperform’ rating on Citi's already battered stock,” notes the New York Post.
If things don't work out for Whitney, she might consider a career in comedy, says Dealbreaker. The website reports that Meredith tried her hand at a few jokes in her report. With regards to turning Citi into a profitable company, she wrote, “Even Stephen Hawking could not pull this off.”
Oh, relax, she wasn't all negative: She did “wish [Citi’s] management team all the best in their ambitious endeavors,” in her report. Despite her “fear [it] is past the point of fixing." Ah, there's nothing like a kiss before the kill.