Will the RBS/ABN AMRO merger lead to job losses?

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ABN AMRO Australia is about to disappear into the mothership, Royal Bank of Scotland, with an accompanying and immediate purge of management.

Royal Bank of Scotland has announced it will buy the remaining equity in ABN AMRO's local unit and that Stephen Williams, RBS Australia's managing director, will run the combined ABN and RBS business. Angus James, head of ABN Australia and New Zealand, will step down.

Will this mean other job cuts?

Royal Bank of Scotland spokesman Jim Kelly says it's a bit early to tell, although mergers usually result in some losses. But he says RBS aims to retain all the ABN business units. "We see the combined business as a growth, rather than a cost saving, opportunity."

At financial services recruiter Robert Walters, Neil Dyball thinks the takeover is the best possible outcome for ABN employees: "It is excellent news. There is little duplication of business functions here in Australia between the two banks, so the majority of the ABN business units will remain the same."

The only area serviced by both banks is debt capital markets.

"Where there might be losses," RBS's Kelly says, "is in areas like IT, systems or infrastructure, but even those positions might not be lost in total, but moved to other hubs in Asia-Pacific. We haven't quantified it yet, and so far there is no time-frame, but we expect the union to be complete by early 2009."