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Morning Coffee: Terrible times at RBS’s investment bank. Tax threat to UK bonuses

Redundancies at RBS

The scene at 280 Bishopsgate

You know things are bad when the bank you work for will soon be run by a man best known for eviscerating entire business units and there are rumours that 93% of the jobs in your Asian business are about to be pulled. Such are the times at RBS.

The British government-owned bank is due to report its fourth quarter results this Thursday. Worrisome reports are circulating ahead of times. The Financial Times reports that RBS’s investment bank will soon be run by Rory Cullinan, former head of RBS’s bad bank and that Cullinan will build upon his record of closing RBS’s unwanted operations. Reuters says RBS is preparing to announce that it’s laying off 93% of its staff in its Asian business, with Singaporean headcount set to fall to 200 – down from 2,800 at the end of last year. Cullinan will reportedly be tasked with this, along with overseeing RBS’s withdrawal from markets in Central and Eastern Europe. Dark times indeed.

Separately, the Financial Times gives UK bankers reason to fear either a Labour government or a so-called ‘Rainbow coalition’ led by a Labour prime minister. It points out that the Labour Party wants to revive its 50% bonus tax on all bonuses and role-based allowances banks worth £25k+. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has also called for bonuses to be deferred for 10 years and the Party has raised a motion stating that bonuses should only be paid, “for exceptional performance.” Soon all banks will be like RBS.

Meanwhile: 

J.P. Morgan’s corporate and investment bank has reduced its target RoE from 15% to 13%. (Bloomberg) 

J.P. Morgan says 2015 has started strong for its trading business. (Bloomberg) 

Jamie Dimon has hinted that he may still be running J.P. Morgan in 2019. (WSJ) 

Deutsche Bank just hired Hewlett Packard on a ten year contract to upgrade its IT systems. (NY Times) 

Bank of America Corp.’s Henry Mulholland, head of equities for the Americas and a 25-year veteran of Merrill Lynch, is leaving the firm. (Bloomberg) 

Credit Suisse just poached BAML’s chief ABS trader in New York. (Global Capital)

Goldman Sachs says its people are fallible, and this is a risk.(Footnoted) 

Humans need to take holidays if they’re going to compete against robots. (Guardian) 

Jamie Dimon’s cocktail hour. (Dealbreaker) 

Singapore’s highest rate of income tax is rising – to 22%. (CNBC) 

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