Baring Asset Management (Asia) has sacked six professionals as part of an adjustment to diminished investment opportunities in the region. Managing director Syd Bone confirmed that investment director Jung C Rhee, responsible for the South Korean market, and five research analysts had left the company. The investment house employs about 70 people in Hong Kong, among them five investment directors and eight supporting analysts who cover 11 markets. Mr Bone said last week's sackings reflected prospects in Asia as well as diminished assets under management. 'Frankly, there are not as many companies to look at, so we don't need as many analysts,' he said. The Hong Kong office's assets under management have halved to about US$2 billion this year. Mr Bone said the pool of 'investable' stocks across the region had fallen significantly because of the restrictions imposed in Malaysia and the contractions of the Thai, Philippine and Indonesian markets. The number of investable stocks in South Korea had also shrunk, he said. 'South Korea has a lot of stocks with high debt levels or which are close to bankruptcy, and are therefore of little interest to a fundamental research house like us for at least two or three years,' Mr Bone said.