Barclays axes Hong Kong investment banking jobs

One in seven workers in bank's Asian offices, including senior staff, to be made redundant in global downsizing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 5:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 4:54am

Barclays, Britain's second-biggest lender, began to cut more than 80 employees in its Asian offices yesterday, as part of the firm's global efforts to downsize its investment banking business.

The job cuts, mostly in Hong Kong and Singapore, account for about 15 per cent of Barclay's regional workforce of roughly 600 full-time staff, according to people familiar with the situation. They said most of the departures happened yesterday.

Affected employees are expected to get compensation ranging from a month's to three months' salary, depending on rank and years of service, the sources said.

The South China Morning Post learned from sources that 12 equities researchers and three members of the equity sales team were made redundant.

Most of the Hong Kong-based senior and mid-rank managers at the financial institutions group (FIG), specialists in financing and mergers and acquisitions, were eliminated, mainly because of a weak deal pipeline.

Several Hong Kong-based senior positions have been hit in this round of cuts. Two managing directors, Nina Zhou and Jeff Walker, who were responsible for the FIG division, have been let go.

Zhou had joined in 2009 after more than 10 years with Credit Suisse, while Walker joined Barclays in 2011 from Daiwa Capital Markets, where he was head of insurance, financial institutions and investment banking.

Barclays' redundancies in Asia would hit the bank's corporate finance business, including the mergers and acquisitions, equity capital market and debt capital market divisions, affecting about 70 bankers, the sources said.

Barclays, which has its headquarters in London, declined to comment.

Last year the bank agreed to pay US$453 million to settle allegations by US and British regulatory authorities that it manipulated the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank, said yesterday it would cut 4,000 to 6,000 jobs over the next four years. The job cuts would apply to all divisions worldwide, it said.

Morgan Stanley sacked around 50 investment bankers across Asia this month, part of 1,600 job cuts that the New York-based bank will make worldwide.