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Daily Dispatches – RBS to announce hefty Asia job cuts today

Stephen Hester, the outgoing CEO of RBS, may be attracting the most attention right now after being eased out of his job yesterday, but spare a thought for the 2,000 people in the markets division who are likely to hear today that they will be following him out of the door.

Sky News says that just under 20% of the staff in this division – many in Asia and other offshore operations – will be told today that they have been axed. Sweeping redundancies have been part of the ongoing restructuring of a bank that was baled out at huge expense to the UK taxpayer.

Once the largest bank in the world (albeit briefly, RBS had to be saved by the UK government after nearly going to the wall under the leadership of former CEO Sir Fred (Fred the Shred) Goodwin in 2008. Under Hestor, the bank has reduced its headcount by about 40,000 in total. RBS plans to return to full private ownership by the end of 2014 – currently, the British government owns 81%.

Hestor’s successor is yet to be found, indicating that his departure may well have been a sudden decision. His announcement yesterday indicated mixed feelings about how tough his five year-tenure had been. “I certainly don’t have to be prised away reluctantly.” The same probably can’t be said for the people targeted in the latest round of job cuts.

PE firms sizing up Japan

Asia Investor says KKR, Bain, Advantage Partners, Carlyle, Polaris Capital and Unison Capital are among private equity firms looking to raise capital to invest in Japan. KKR recently raised a $6-billion pan-Asia fund, and has beefed up its Japan team, with the recent hiring of Hirofumi Hirano as chief executive of the Japan division, and Hiro Shumizu from Goldman Sachs and Sakae Suzuki of McKinsey & Co as directors.

Los Angeles-based asset manager TCW has ramped up its profile in Asia, opening a new office in Hong Kong, headed by Stacy Hsu, with plans to add another three to seven staffers. TCW, backed by the Carlyle Group, recently bought out the company from its former shareholder, Société Générale.

Reuters says Patrick Corso has stepped down as head of the private equity firm’s Hong Kong office, becoming the fourth senior departure at the company in the Asian region since 2008.

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