Lehman Brothers fired five of its Hong Kong-based research team yesterday in a move that the firm described as a reorganisation. Spokesman Gerry Kay said: 'I think that we wanted to drive an integration theme between different product areas . . . bringing fixed income and equities together.' Mr Kay said the changes would promote 'synergy' within the firm. The five staff who are leaving the firm were named by Bloomberg Business News as chief strategist Abhijit Chakrabortti, financial economist Paul Alapat, India research chief Sandeep Dixit, telecommunications analyst Zeus Chen and banking analyst Larry Rong. The firm hired 11 investment bankers in the first half of the year. Mr Kay declined to give details of the terms under which the staff had left but said: 'We don't put people out on the street.' Managing director Kirk Sweeney would oversee the new operation, Mr Kay said. Hong Kong research head Brian Nolan would relinquish his role and was still talking with the firm about his new position, he said. Mr Nolan arrived in Hong Kong about a year ago to strengthen Lehman's Asia research group. Lehman is the third-biggest US securities firm in terms of capital. Its shares have surged 54 per cent this year, more than double the gain in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, amid speculation that Chase Manhattan Corp, Deutsche Bank or another big bank may be interested in the 147-year old bank.