Citi set to return cash to shareholders, says Pandit

CITIGROUP chief executive Vikram Pandit said he expects to return significant amounts of capital to shareholders over the next two years.

Pandit, speaking in Singapore on an emerging markets push, also said the bank will begin to see benefits of its Asian investment, 85 per cent of which has been in retail banking.

“By the end of this year we should start seeing operating leverage. Once you start seeing operating leverage, that says you have expenses but they’re paying off.”

Pandit, who has been under pressure to cut costs further, said the bank is still on track to return capital to investors in 2012, and that he believes Citi can return much more in 2013, providing regulators agree.

“From our perspective, this is a very strong capital-generation story,” he said.

Investors are keen to see the bank return capital through dividends or share buybacks.