Layoffs Watch: Morgan, Goldman, Citi, Bank Of America

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Everyone in Asia is advised to gird their loins.

Bowing to increased competition and weaker markets, investment banks are lowering expectations and cutting costs in Asia, a region that has been a crucial source of growth for the industry in recent years. Senior bankers in Hong Kong, who are emerging from several weeks of tense budget meetings for 2012, say they are feeling pressure from their bosses to justify heavy investment across the region as trading volumes there and around the world shrink and banks struggle with tighter regulations, the fallout from Europe and weak economies world-wide. Some banks including Nomura Holdings Inc., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. have already laid off small numbers of workers in Asia. Bankers are bracing for bigger cuts once bonuses are paid this month, especially if markets remain sluggish. At Morgan Stanley, a bigger round of layoffs is expected in the coming weeks...The cutbacks are unlikely to be across the board. As banks reassess their strategies, they will look to protect those employees focused on China, whose share of the shrinking Asian fee pot is growing, senior bankers said. But opportunities in India have been disappointing, and some are already cutting back, while business in Japan remains sluggish.

Bankers Feel Job Cuts In Asia [WSJ]

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Layoffs Watch '12: Deutsche Bank

The Germans are not yet done firing employees in Asia. Deutsche Bank fired around a third of the staff in its Asia equity derivatives business on Tuesday, as part of a global cost savings plan announced on July 31, according to sources familiar with the matter. Just over 20 people remain in the division, down from a number in the mid 30s, according to one source, as Deutsche Bank and others seek to cut costs in businesses that are failing to generate adequate revenues as the global economy slows. The bank let go five traders, four product structurers and at least one salesperson from the division, the sources said, adding that the numbers were not yet finalised because the discussions were continuing...These cuts follow on the heels of layoffs in June in Deutsche Bank's Asian equities business, which like its counterparts at other firms globally has been struggling this summer due to slack trading volumes and a sharp decline in new share issuance. Deutsche Bank cuts a third of jobs in Asia equity derivs [Reuters]

Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

In April 2010, Bank of America said ENOUGH. Enough with this losing of money business. We want to know what it's like to have a quarter in which we actually make a little-- wouldn't that be something? As this was a very lofty goal for the firm, the higher-ups knew they had to get serious-- really focus and hone in an on plan of action. First, they gave their new (money-making) mission a special codename: Project New BAC. Then, 44 executives "fanned out around the company to ask employees low- and high-level for ideas on how BofA [could]...reduce expenses." As we now know, what they came up with re: the reduction of expenses was that 30,000 people should be fired and over the last year, exactly that has happened. And even though a whole bunch of senior people have quit, which has helped the bottom line a bit, it hasn't been enough for meddlesome investors to put a sock in it re: "reining in expenses" and "profit outlook" in general. So, a couple things are going to happen: 1. A whole bunch of well-paid* bankers are going to be escorted out of the building and 2. In order to pick up the slack left, clusters of junior bankers are going to put in a van which will drop them off in whatever division needs them most at the time. The Charlotte, N.C., company is planning about 2,000 staff cuts in its investment banking, commercial banking and non-U.S. wealth-management units, said people familiar with the situation. Those operations were vastly expanded with Bank of America's 2009 purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. The reductions are significant because of whom they target: the high-earning employees whose efforts helped Merrill Lynch account for the bulk of Bank of America's profit since the financial crisis. The cuts come on top of a plan announced last year that will see Bank of America eliminate 30,000 jobs over three years in its consumer banking divisions...The No. 2 U.S. bank by assets already is facing a wave of high-profile defections in its institutional businesses, such as investment banking, amid Wall Street's annual post-bonus job-hopping season. The upheaval comes as investors are pressuring banks to rein in expenses without giving ground competitively. Despite a 46% rise this year, Bank of America shares have lost a third of their value in the past year, amid questions about the industry's profit outlook. Cutbacks aren't Bank of America's only response to surging costs. The bank is loath to cut too deeply in businesses, such as the fixed-income trading operation, that are showing improvement and highly competitive. One structural shift being planned will pool junior investment-banking employees across different industry sectors so the younger bankers can be routed to whatever area is most in demand at that moment, said people familiar with the situation. Proponents say that move will help younger workers gain more experience, while others say it will detract from the bank's service to clients. BofA To Cut From Elite Ranks [WSJ] *For BofA.

Layoffs Watch '13: Barclays

Earlier this week Barlcays promised not to dawdle when it comes to canning the 2,000 employees slated to be cut. Today employees in Asia got to experience that follow-through in action!

Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America Australia

The House of Moynihan has said goodbye to a bunch of employees down under. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has begun a new round of job cuts in Australia, a person familiar with the matter told Deal Journal Australia, becoming the latest investment bank to cut costs amid light deal flow and sluggish equity markets due to the stuttering global economic recovery. Fewer than 10 staff from the bank’s equities sales and trading division have been let go, the person said, without elaborating further. Bank of America Merrill Lynch Cuts Staff in Australia [Deal Journal]

Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

The aforementioned layoffs are said to begin this week. "FYI: BofA cuts are expected to start Thursday, thought to be 20% across the board in IB. All levels affected but with 2nd and 3rd year VPs who are not going to make director, of which there is a glut, hit especially hard. If you're a first year VP (without acct coverage responsibilities), you're probably going into the superpods."