Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAML) is set to join the latest round of financial sector lay-offs this summer with dozens of jobs to be cut in the world's fastest-growing region.
Financial industry sources familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post on Tuesday that the leading American bank is expected to make an internal announcement of its latest lay-off plan in Asia, including its offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo and South Korea, in the coming days.
"Many department heads have submitted their lists of head count that will be cut. Some are still bargaining with bosses as they try to keep as many staff as they can," said one of the people, adding that the list of jobs to be cut will be finalized soon and affected employees will be informed this week.
A BAML spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment.
In this round of layoff in the financial industry, BAML is not alone.
In the past two months - traditionally off-limits for job cuts because many bankers and traders are on vacation -hundreds of jobs have been cut in Asia at financial institutions such as Daiwa Securities, Nomura and Credit Suisse, partly because of a weak market across the region.
In Hong Kong, poor equity market turnover has hurt both the operations and profitability of global investment banks and of local brokerage houses. The combined average daily turnover for equities and warrants has barely topped HK$50 billion so far this year, compared with an average of HK$70 billion last year.
"It is a relatively very small portion of all employees that the bank has in Asia but it will of course hurt office sentiment again. Everybody knows this is not the end but more likely just the beginning," of more layoff, said another of the sources, referring to BAML's latest layoff to be announced this week.
BAML has thousands of staff in Asia and Hong Kong serves as its regional head office.