Jobs axe hangs over investment banks in Asia
By Michael Flaherty
HONG KONG Dec 23 (Reuters) - Investment bankers in Asia fear more job cuts in the next few weeks, having largely escaped the latest global layoffs that hit colleagues in other regions.
Layoffs in the industry could soon slice more than 1,000 jobs at Wall Street and European banks in Asia, industry sources say. Several hundred were wiped out here in the past month.
"It sounds like it's already starting to get bloody," said a Hong Kong hedge fund manager who works with investment banks.
Among the banks likely to be hit hard is Merrill Lynch MER.N, sources say. Its job reductions in Asia so far have been relatively small and the Wall Street bank is weeks away from being absorbed by the rescue of Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Cotización).
But Merrill is not alone, according to sources who asked not to be named as they work at or with investment banks.
They said Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Cotización), even after recent layoffs in Asia, is not done yet.
Citigroup (C.N: Cotización) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Cotización) have also shed jobs in Asia and, while some sources say these banks can maintain headcount levels through the first quarter, others aren't so sure. The first and second quarters of 2009, globally, are expected by bankers to be worse than the last two.
If the banks don't move soon to reduce headcount, they are likely to strike at the end of the first quarter. Continuación...