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McWhinney gains aid of Myra Rothfeld

Citi continues to draw on former Schwab talent

Friday, October 30, 2009 – 3:53 PM by Brooke Southall
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McWhinney chooses someone she knows and trusts

Citicorp is tapping the talents of another former Charles Schwab & Co. executive.

In its efforts to restructure its bank brokerage division into something akin to the San Francisco-based brokerage giant, the New York money center bank is calling on the expertise of Myra Rothfeld, the former senior vice president of marketing for Schwab Institutional, according to several sources.

Rothfeld is working with Deborah D. McWhinney, the head of of Citi Personal Banking and Wealth Management, they say.

Rothfeld still live in the Bay Area but she is also a native New Yorker who attended New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and Cornell University.

Mike Hanretta, spokesman for Citicorp, says that Rothfeld is working for his company on a consulting contract. He declined to say anything more including how long she had been working there or how londg she would continue to work there.

McWhinney is in the midst of an effort to ramp up her company’s capacity to serve affluent clients after Citi was left with only 600 branch brokers and $30 billion of assets under advisement in the wake of Smith Barney’s merger with Morgan Stanley.

“Even with 600 [advisors] around the country and all the potential clients, we really don’t have enough teams to serve the market,” McWhinney said in an earlier interview.

The plan to increase manpower relies largely on building a referral network that would funnel leads to registered investment advisors from the bank where appropriate.

Referrals would also continue to flow to existing bank advisors. As part of the changes, the Citi advisors themselves will go fee-only in 2010.

With Rothfeld by her side, McWhinney will have created an alliance with another executive whom she worked with closely at Schwab. Rothfeld reported directly to McWhinney during McWhinney’s first few years at Schwab starting in 2001. [Schwab has a strong referral program where leads emanate from its branch brokers.]

Rothfeld then reported to Charles Goldman when he was appointed chief operating officer of Schwab Institutional in April of 2005. Goldman reported to McWhinney when he held the COO position.

McWhinney said in an earlier interview that it is likely that Citi Personal Banking and Wealth Management will hire Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services to handle asset custody for its financial advisors by 2011. Goldman oversees that Fidelity unit.

McWhinney made a good decision to seek out Rothfeld, according to a former colleague of Rothfeld’s.

“Myra is a very passionate RIA advocate and a very talented business woman,” said T.J. Gilsenan, former national sales director of managed accounts for Schwab. “I can’t imagine Debby could have made a better selection.”

Gilsenan, principal of Advisor Web Strategies, was not aware of Rothfeld’s working relationship with Citi prior to being informed by this reporter.

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