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Nuns, union pension plan seek Citigroup breakup

Associated Press Published: November 14, 2012

BOSTON (AP) — A proposed shareholder resolution filed on behalf of a group of Benedictine nuns and a union pension fund asks Citigroup's board to consider separating one or more of the bank's business units from the parent company.

The proposal requests the board to appoint a committee of independent directors to explore "extraordinary transactions that could enhance stockholder value, including the separation of one or more of Citigroup's businesses," the filers of the resolution said in a news release Wednesday.

The proposal was filed by Trillium Asset Management and the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan.

Trillium is a Boston-based investment adviser that filed the resolution on behalf of one of its clients, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. Trillium clients include wealthy individuals, foundations, endowments, and religious institutions such as the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, an order of 144 nuns based in Atchison, Kan.

Trillium clients own about $9 million worth of shares in Citigroup, said Jonas Kron, a vice president at the firm.

The AFSCME pension plan's Citi shares are currently valued at nearly $2.8 million.

The resolution's filers have met requirements to bring the proposal to a vote at Citigroup's annual shareholder meeting next spring, Kron said.

Citigroup Inc. spokesman Mark Costiglio declined to comment on the shareholder proposal. But he said that Citi "has sold more than 60 businesses and reduced assets in Citi Holdings by more than $600 billion since the credit crisis began."

Matthew Patsky, Trillium's CEO, said in a statement that Citigroup has made progress since the 2008 financial crisis to simplify its business model and limit financial risks. But he said that progress "has been slow and incomplete," and added that Citigroup "remains burdened by excessive complexity."

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