Focus is at a premium, Jim Cramer said Monday on his
"RealMoney" radio show
(C - Get Report) earnings "stunk up the joint," Cramer said, because the company has too many moving parts that prevent it from achieving reliable growth. Cramer believes the so-called "financial services supermarket" model, once considered the way to go, is now to be avoided.
"Fees can't be hidden. Regulators are all over firms. Journalists are wise to the game," said Cramer.
Instead of owning an unwieldy amalgamation like Citigroup, said Cramer, the better move is to buy the "best of breed" companies in each of the arenas in which Citibank competes.
Breaking it down, that means buying:
In retail banking: Commerce Bancorp
In credit cards: CapitalOne
(COF - Get Report).
In mutual funds: Legg Mason
(LM - Get Report).
In commercial lending: CIT Group
(CIT - Get Report)
In brokerage: Bear Stearns
(BSC) or Lehman
But don't jump in just yet. Based on what he heard -- or, more appropriately, didn't hear -- on the Citigroup conference call, Cramer said you can get a better entry price into some of these names by waiting a little while.
"The earnings call was tough to understand and the analysts may have problems understanding what the company is," said Cramer. "Sandy Weill may have understood it, but the folks he left behind obviously do not."
The result is that Citigroup may catch a few downgrades. That means investors can start picking up some of these best-of-breed financial names if they sell off on Citigroup's pain.
One caller asked if, aside from Legg Mason,
T. Rowe Price
(TROW - Get Report)
was also a good asset manager to own. Cramer was very positive on T. Rowe Price, saying the company avoided the taint of scandal during the mutual fund trading probe.