Citigroup Inc.’s investment banking unit, Salomon Smith Barney, is beefing up the capital markets function in its syndicated lending group to provide more market-driven feedback to corporate clients.

Salomon hired Michael C. Mauer, 39, to oversee and raise the importance of its capital markets activities within the group.

Mr. Mauer joined the firm last week from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., where he headed loan syndication for J.P. Morgan Securities, overseeing loan syndication, sales, and trading in the United States and Latin America.

Though Mr. Mauer’s title at Salomon — head of U.S. loan syndication — is new there, the firm formed the capital markets group in 1998, when Citicorp and Travelers Group merged.

Mr. Mauer’s job was created because, structurally, the syndicated loan market is looking increasingly like the bond market, a Citigroup spokesman said. Salomon had wanted to create the job for a while but waited to find the right person to fill it, he said.

Judith Fishlow Minter and Laura Siracuse, who follow capital markets for noninvestment-grade and investment-grade loans, respectively, report to Mr. Mauer. He in turn reports to Chad A. Leat, Salomon’s head of global loans.

The extra focus on the capital markets reflects Salomon’s increasing prominence in the syndicated loan market. The firm ranked third last year, with $135 billion, or 11% of the market, up from 8.9% in 1999, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data. J.P. Morgan Chase was first, with 34%, and Banc of America Securities second, with 21.7%.

Other banks that syndicate loans already had executives who act as liaisons between loan origination and sales and trading. J.P. Morgan Chase, for example, established a similar post last April, when it hired Ann Lane, formerly of Citigroup, to head global loan syndication, corporate finance, and capital markets activities.

A capital markets group “provides better insight as to what the market needs for a particular deal to clear,” said Mark Lies, head of the syndicated lending group at Lehman Brothers. Lehman has had a capital markets group since it founded its syndicated lending operation in 1994, Mr. Lies said.

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