Hong Kong junior staff have borne the brunt of a decision by Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) to axe 18 jobs in its regional investment banking division. Spokesman Tom Grimmer said yesterday the decision affected junior staff in the bank's Hong Kong and Singapore offices, mostly in the SAR. 'It is a combination of things - a legacy of the DLJ [Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette] merger that had made us a little too heavy perhaps in the junior ranks; and the general condition of the market right now,' he said. CSFB acquired DLJ in November last year. The result of the latest move would be to trim the headcount in CSFB's regional investment banking team, excluding Japan and Australia, to 140 from 158. CSFB employs 2,400 people in the Pacific Rim region, including Australia and Japan. A sharp contraction in revenues for investment banks in Asia this year has prompted industry-wide retrenchments. In mergers and acquisitions (M&A), a key source of income for investment bankers, activity was sharply lower in the first half. According to data released by Thomson Financial, the region announced 1,779 such transactions in the first six months, contributing just 12 per cent to global M&A activity. The value of deals in the first half in Asia was US$56 billion - down 42 per cent from a record US$96 billion in the same period last year.