Finance

Citigroup’s 240 London interns set to come into the office this summer

Citigroup has opened its Canary Wharf office to 240 interns arriving at the bank on Monday, following Wall Street rivals by having in-person programmes for potential new recruits after Covid-19 forced a shift online last year.

The US bank told its incoming class of summer analysts and associates that they are able to come into the office for the internship, which starts on 21 June, according to a note seen by Financial News.

Citigroup said that those in a commutable distance are invited to come into its London office, but it was “entirely voluntary”. Business Insider previously reported the bank planned on virtual internships globally, citing a 22 March memo.

Summer internships are hotly-contested, attracting tens of thousands of applications, and are investment banks’ main recruitment tool for entry-level jobs. Students attend the bank for up to 10 weeks in a paid position, and vie for full-time offers by proving their skills and networking with managers. Covid-19 restrictions forced banks to move their programmes to a virtual format last year, but large investment banks have so far been divided in 2021 on whether to bring interns into the office.

JPMorgan told interns in London and New York in April that they would come into the office this year, Financial News reported, while Goldman Sachs informed students in February that it would host them in offices where Covid-19 restrictions allow. This will include the UK.

READ Jamie Dimon predicts return to pre-Covid working by September

Other Wall Street banks including Bank of America and Morgan Stanley have so far opted to keep internships virtual.

The first week of Citi’s internship will remain virtual, the note said. “Through Citi’s strict Covid-19 safety guidelines we have the flexibility to enable more employees to return to the workplace to better support in-person collaboration and business operations.,” the memo said.

Interns will work across Citigroup’s corporate and investment bank, consumer bank and support functions. The amount of time spent in the office will depend on the role.

Both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan will pay for incoming UK-based interns from other countries to quarantine in hotels, the Telegraph reported. Citi will not pay for accommodation, as interns are expected to be in commutable distance of London.

Last year, Citigroup pledged to offer its summer interns in key locations including New York and London a full-time role — as long as they met “minimum requirements” — after Covid restrictions forced a move online, which made assessing candidates more difficult.

Some City investment banks have rolled back plans to bring more staff back to the office after the UK government pushed its ‘freedom day’ from 21 June to 19 July. Virus cases have increased in recent weeks as the more transmittable ‘delta’ variant has become more prevalent in the country.

READ JPMorgan, Goldman, Deutsche Bank push back wider return to UK office as ‘Freedom Day’ delayed

Both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, which have been quickest among large investment banks to ask employees to return to the office this year, both told employees wider return would be delayed to 19 July. They have capped maximum occupancy to 50% of headcount.

On 21 May, Citigroup’s UK executives told staff that they expected the number of employees coming into the office to grow, based on demand. Around 1,250 people had been coming in on any given day. Across the bank, Citi expects most employees to work on a hybrid basis, splitting their time between the office and home, its chief executive Jane Fraser said in March.

Investment banks have been particularly keen to bring younger staff back to the office, with executives including Goldman Sachs CEO, David Solomon, JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon and Morgan Stanley chief executive, James Gorman, all citing the need to train and mentor new recruits.

Correction:A previous version of this story cited the number of interns at Citi as 200. The actual number is 240. 

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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