Blood on the floor at Merrill

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We were told by several people that Merrill chopped bankers in London yesterday. Things have apparently been particularly nasty in fixed income sales, with 35 out of around 150 salespeople in the City allegedly asked to leave.

Equity sales and trading, private banking, and fixed income sales in Germany are also said to have been affected.

The redundancies follow apparent assurances by John Thain on Monday that although thousands of redundancies were imminent, they'd be mostly in the middle office. These assurances were followed (correctly it now appears) by claims from informed sources that fixed income would definitely be in the firing line.

One fixed income headhunter says the cuts have largely impacted structuring and sales, with trading unaffected. This may not remain the case. "For the moment, they need the traders to hold the positions. When the positions have been closed they'll be stuffed," he says.

According to US banking analyst Dick Bove, Merrill's most recent cuts could be the tip of the iceberg: he's predicting that 10,000 jobs at the bank will go during the integration with Bank of America.

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