John Reed, the former co-chairman and co-chief executive of Citigroup Inc., had a Nixon-to-China moment last week when he appeared before the Senate Banking Committee.

As lawmakers wrestle with how to prevent companies from becoming "too big to fail," Reed — the man who presided over Citi's controversial decision to make itself into a financial services behemoth by merging with Travelers — said that combining banking, securities and insurance turned out to be a bad move.

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