Banking & Finance

Hundreds to lose jobs as Barclays scales back operations across Asia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 January, 2016, 9:35am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 January, 2016, 6:15pm

Global investment bank Barclays has announced it will dramatically wind back its Asia business operation, closing a number of equity services in the region.

In an email to clients on Thursday, the bank said it is closing its cash equity research, sales and trading, and convertible bond trading businesses in all Asian countries.

The bank will continue its prime brokerage and derivatives business in the region, the email said.

About 230 people would lose their jobs in Asia , Bloomberg reported on Thursday, as part of an overall cut of 1,000 jobs worldwide at Barclays. The Wall Street Journal put the number at 250. A spokesman for Barclays refused to confirm the reports when contacted by the South China Morning Post.

Bloomberg also reported the company’s bonus pool had been cut by 10 per cent globally, with bonus payments to be delayed until March.

It was reported that offices in Taiwan, Australia, South Korea and Malaysia would close, while the bank’s offices in Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan and Singapore would be spared the axe.

The spokesman refused to comment, but a former employee who asked not to be named said rumours about a change of strategy had been simmering since October, when Jes Staley was appointed chief executive.

The move had been anticipated for a couple of weeks, with media reports saying Staley was trying to further trim costs following a hiring freeze put in place in December.

Barclays shares lost more than 4 per cent in London overnight, falling to 182.05 pence.

Further cuts are expected to be announced in Barclay’s operations in Europe and Latin America on Thursday as it refocuses on the US and British markets.

“We are constantly monitoring our opportunities in different geographies and businesses over the cycle,” the Barclays spokesman said. “If any firm decisions are made, we will provide an update.”

Barclays’ decision comes as Asian stock markets plumb new depths after a steep plunge that has wiped months of gains off Hong Kong, China and Japanese markets.

Further drops of up to 1.8 per cent on Thursday sent the Hang Seng Index tumbling to its lowest levels since June 2012.

With additional reporting by Jessie Lau