Citigroup is planning to sell its Japanese retail brokerage Nikko Cordial Securities, according to a report.

The final decision to sell was made by a tight cadre around Chief Executive Vikram Pandit, people familiar with the matter said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Citigroup had not planned to sell the unit until the eve of its earnings, the report said. However after spinning off its Smith Barney retail brokerage, Nikko did not fit into the Citigroup's plans the Journal said.

A citigroup spokesperson in an e-mail to Bloomberg news said the bank remains committed to maximizing the value of Nikko Cordial over the next few years.