Redundancies hit Europe - Australia spared

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The fallout from the US sub-prime mortgage débâcle continues to be felt, with news of redundancies of up to 1,500 employees at Europe's biggest bank, UBS.

Adding to concerns, this announcement was closely followed by the sacking of two senior US executives at Merrill Lynch.

The sackings have sent shock waves through the industry. However one City-based headhunter says it may be premature for those in Australia's finance industry to hit the panic button.

Mary Grant, principal consultant in recruitment firm Hudson's banking and finance division, says she doesn't expect the global losses to affect UBS Australia as it only has a small debt and structured finance team.

Anthony Ayers, of Chandler Heath Executive Recruitment, is similarly sanguine: "We are seeing some head-count freezes but not many." Nonetheless, he adds, "Some private equity firms have deferred hiring."

The only thing likely to knock Australian i-banking hiring off its perch, according to Ayers, is a slowdown in the US. We're not there yet. Let's hope we won't be for a while....