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Dresdner dumps bankers into market mayhem

Investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort is set to lay off the majority of its approximately 200 staff in Japan with the closure of its Tokyo branch.

The firm says the majority of its Japan businesses will be wound down, with one or two exceptions that will be transferred into other parts of the Commerzbank Group, which acquired Dresdner in January.

A Tokyo-based spokesperson for the firm told eFinancialCareers that its Japan operations cover structured products, fixed income, equity, FX, and M&A advisory, but declined to comment on which – if any – of those businesses would survive.

One thing is clear, though: for Dresdner’s soon-to-be jobless staff, now is not a good time to be looking for work in any of these sectors.

Although there is still some selective hiring taking place, there are more people on the market than there are jobs, according to Warwick Pearmund, senior consultant, finance sector recruitment at Boyd and Moore. “Dresdner employees will find it hard to differentiate themselves from others on the market,” he adds.

Kevin Naylor, team manager, financial services division at Wall Street Associates, says many bankers who lost their jobs in 2008 are still looking for work, providing extra competition for the newly unemployed Dresdnerites.

But there are some signs of hope. “There continues to be a shortage of good bilingual talent across all functions in the finance world here in Japan, so those with patience and perseverance will see the number of opportunities grow as 2009 goes forward. I am cautiously optimistic about the future for these people in Japan,” says Naylor.

Pearmund, too, believes there are reasons to be positive. He has seen a small, but noticeable hiring upturn over the last couple of weeks on the sales side in equity research, prop trading and sales trading.

Whether or not that signals the start of a broader hiring revival is impossible to call, but Naylor says that when global markets settle, control functions and sales roles should recover first.

“The control related teams – internal audit, financial control, and so on – have had to downsize in line with the revenue centres but have not seen their work load decrease. This is starting to put immense pressure on these teams so that they will need to grow or replace before other areas,” he says.

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