Dead calm as ABN AMRO-Barclays storm rages

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Will Barclays acquire ABN AMRO or won't it? Even if it does, Australian jobs are likely to be unaffected.

ABN AMRO is by far the bigger of the two banks in Australia and New Zealand, with about 700 people on the ground. Barclays, by contrast, has fewer than 100 employees, mainly spread between Sydney and Melbourne.

There's little overlap between the two in terms of operations. ABN's primary focus is on corporate and institutional banking and ranks as the sixth-biggest player in mergers and acquisitions. Barclays, on the other hand, is mainly focused on small-to-medium business finance.

"It's much too early in the piece to comment on any possible recruitment impact of the merger deal," says ABN AMRO spokeswoman Kristen Barry. "I doubt Australia is even on the radar in terms of the overall discussions."

Matthew Gribble, associate director for banking and financial services at Michael Page, says it's unlikely there'll be a major impact on jobs if the merger proceeds.

"The only impact may be if roles that are being performed for ABN out here are duplicated with overseas roles within Barclays, and therefore there's a drop in numbers. But I wouldn't see it having a significant impact," he concludes.

Lorraine Ryan, principal consultant for banking and finance at Chandler Heath, agrees. "I doubt the impact would be that significant, given the presence here in Australia," she says.

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