Citigroup Inc. plans to fold its year-old "myFi" discount financial-advice platform after losing the primary source of referrals when it sold the Smith Barney brokerage unit in May.
Deborah McWhinney, hired in April to run what is left of the New York company's brokerage operations, said she plans to retire the myFi brand and retool the platform to offer financial advice to bank clients through the Internet and call centers.
MyFi, created to handle Smith Barney referrals, becomes a part of McWhinney's Citi personal wealth management division, which includes 600 branch-based brokers.
MyFi "was really Smith Barney's strategy on what they were going to do with small accounts," McWhinney said in an interview Monday.
"My goal wasn't to just sweep small clients into some place and hope for the best," she said.
The decision by Citigroup chief executive officer Vikram Pandit to quit some businesses after last year's $52 billion bailout has forced the company to reevaluate the units that are left.
Pandit, who said last November that he wanted to keep Smith Barney, agreed two months later to sell a majority stake in it to Morgan Stanley for a $6.7 billion gain.
MyFi, derived from "my financial life," was the cornerstone of a group catering to the "emerging affluent"; it was formed in March 2008 by Sallie Krawcheck, then Citi's wealth-management chief, to target people with $500,000 or less to invest. In a memo at the time, she said the business would focus on "one of the fastest-growing" client segments.