Australia's Macquarie Bank is scaling back its Asian equities business and cutting jobs, becoming the latest victim of a three-year market slump, according to sources familiar with the plans. Some staff in equities sales and research lost their jobs, although the bank said yesterday it was not closing its entire Asian equities division. The bank's retreat was part of a restructuring of Macquarie's Asian broking operations in Hong Kong and Singapore, said Jonathan Coultas, the head of Macquarie Equities Asia. He declined to provide the number of lay-offs from its Hong Kong staff of more than 80. After the reshuffle, the investment bank would focus more on its core businesses, offering derivatives, commodities and Australian-based products, Mr Coultas said. The Macquarie lay-offs come on the heels of massive job cuts in the investment banking industry amid a prolonged slump in new equity deals, and merger and acquisition business, which is eroding profits at the banks that depend heavily on advisory fee income. Several other small to mid-sized investment banks in Hong Kong had also been forced to scale back, including Societe Generale of France, which closed its Asian equities sales and research division in November last year, cutting 180 jobs.