Barclays looks set to announce some of its Asian investment banking job cuts next week – and those affected may have to rely on post-bonus musical chairs at other banks to find new work.
Reuters reports that many of the cuts – part of the firm’s plans to cull 19,000 jobs globally – will be in smaller markets, including closures in South Korea and Taiwan. But some Hong Kong and Singapore roles are also likely to be affected as the bank trims equities sales and research staff across Asia.
While the reported equites job losses in the two cities may turn out to be a small percentage of the overall layoffs, the affected staff may still find it tough in the current job market. Their sector in particular has been battered by redundancies for the past 12 months.
Standard Chartered shut its equities division, laying off 200 people, including about 100 staff in Hong Kong, this time last year. The axe also swung at other firms in 2015: CLSA slashed 25 jobs, mainly in equities; Nomura cut about 12 Asia equities jobs; CIMB trimmed 40 people from its equities team across Asia; and Jefferies announced Asian cuts in December.
Headhunters say some of the people laid off at these firms are still looking for work – which is bad news if you’re about to leave Barclays. And as we reported last month, there is unlikely to be much new headcount added in Asian equities this year. “Most of the vacancies in equities will be replacement roles during bonus season,” says a Hong Kong headhunter. In other words, Barclays staffers will be hoping that their counterparts at other firms move banks after pocketing their bonuses in the coming months, opening up jobs for them as a result.
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