If you thought 2015 was a bad year for Asian equities jobs, 2016 may bring cuts on a similar scale. To recap, all of these firms trimmed equities staff in Asia last year, with Hong Kong particularly affected: Standard Chartered, Nomura, CIMB and Jefferies.
This year new names are being added to the list of axe wielders. Barclays we already know about – the British bank is culling 19,000 jobs globally, including sales and research jobs in its underperforming Asian equities unit, which may be cut as soon as next week. But now Reuters is reporting that BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank are also among the firms expected to reduce their equities headcounts in the region.
Volatility in the mainland stock market, which has continued into 2016, and heavy-handed government intervention – such as yesterday’s suspension of the circuit breaker policy in China – have made it harder for brokers to make money in Asia. “We continue to see banks assessing profitability of businesses in Asia,” Paul McSheaffrey, head of Hong Kong banking at KPMG, told Reuters. “Banks have to assess what is core to their customer franchise and shape their footprint accordingly.”
“The fact that equities job cuts are continuing into this year isn’t unexpected,” a recruiter in Singapore told us. “There are fewer and fewer ‘global’ banks at the moment – many firms can’t really afford to be in Asia with a full service and they’re pulling back to focus on their core domestic markets.”
HSBC and Standard Chartered worst affected by China slump. (Wall Street Journal)
UBP’s integration of Coutts in Asia is on track. (Finews Asia)
Want a safe job? Try Singapore corporate bonds. (Channel News Asia)
Why being a yuan hub isn’t so great for Hong Kong. (South China Morning Post)
Will Google or Amazon be your future bank? (Huffington Post)
UOB and OCBC continue to trade Forex in China. (Business Times)
Igor Sinkov, iStock, Thinkstock