Citi critic Mayo sticks to his guns despite meeting

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The Independent Online

An extraordinary feud between the banking sector analyst Mike Mayo and Citigroup shows no sign of ending, despite the fact that the US banking giant's chief executive, Vikram Pandit, agreed to meet Mr Mayo for the first time in almost two years.

Following Friday's meeting, Mr Mayo, who works for Credit Agricole Securities, stood by his "underperform" rating on Citigroup's shares yesterday and reiterated a litany of concerns about what he says are the company's poor risk management practices and unrealistic financial targets. "Also, the strategy does not always seem in sync with execution and/or financial reporting," Mr Mayo wrote in a note to clients.

In August, the analyst claimed he had been frozen out of meetings with Citigroup executives because of his negative stance on the shares, and his assertion that the company was prettifying its results by inaccurately accounting for deferred tax assets.

His new report, which he admitted was less negative about Citigroup as a result of the meeting, did not satisfy Citigroup, however. "According to Mr Mayo, Citi will be tempted to take inappropriate short-term risk," it said in response. "We disagree with his conclusion. Citi remains very comfortable with its previously disclosed future growth expectations."