PAINEWEBBER International (Asia) has hit back at claims it is pruning its activities in the region, saying it remains a committed and major presence in the Asia-Pacific. Far from cutting its activities, it was just asking 10 retail brokers at Kidder Peabody to leave, said David King, who heads the Hong Kong arm of PaineWebber. He said PaineWebber had inherited those brokers when it bought Kidder Peabody from General Electric last year. But it had decided there was 'no strategic fit' with the 7,000 brokers PaineWebber had in its United States and European operations. PaineWebber is one of the largest United States investment banks, with total capital of US$4.3 billion. It is 22 per cent-owned by General Electric, 19 per cent by PaineWebber employees and 7.5 per cent by Yasuda Mutual Life. The remainder is in public hands. Mr King said PaineWebber had been a leader in raising capital for investment in Asian emerging markets since the late 1980s. He said there were no significant synergies in the region between the Kidder Peabody retail brokerage operations and PaineWebber International. 'We do not have the critical mass in the retail business in Asia,' Mr King said. 'It is not a sign of diminished commitment to Asia. 'We are keen to develop sales and trading business here.' He added: 'We have no interest in trying to re-invent the wheel, so if we are not strong in a particular product worldwide, we're not going to try to push it.' PaineWebber had raised more capital for investment in Asian countries than any other firm, he said. It had raised about US$2 billion in equity capital for emerging and developed markets in the region since 1987 for asset managers such as Barings Asset Management, Jardine Fleming International, G. T. Capital Management and Templeton Investment Management. It was still going to focus primarily on equity products in the near term. 'Obviously we have a dominant position in the fund business and growing penetration in the non-fund business,' he said. In the past two years, it had been involving itself in non-fund related financings, and had advised on mergers and acquisitions. As a result of the Kidder Peabody acquisition, the Hong Kong arm had acquired a strong debt market team which it would make use of, he said. But it was not out to increase market share for the sake of market share, he said. 'We are one of the few investment banks that you will talk to that turns away business,' Mr King said. PaineWebber had 'a number of mandates' for power station financings in China and Indonesia, he said. It wanted to use its strength in money market instruments such as floating-rate notes (FRNs). The company has arranged FRNs for issuers in Korea and Indonesia. PaineWebber also had specific expertise in certain areas, including consumer products, paper and forest products, energy, transportation, retailing and the media, he said. Reports from New York last week indicated that the group planned to include US$100 million in employee compensation in an overall target of $200 million in cuts worldwide.