Fri, Dec 08, 2006 - Page 11 News List

HSBC cuts jobs in Asia

PROFIT CONCERNS The European banking giant reportedly laid off top investment-banking managers in Asia as well as about 20 positions in its bond group in New York in a bid to cut expense

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HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank by value, cut the jobs of at least eight investment bankers this week in Asia as the London-based firm tries to boost profit after a hiring spree last year, people with knowledge of the decision said.

The departures include Allen Chien, managing director and head of the transport team in Asia, and Wellington Chow (周文德), the country officer in Taiwan, the three people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

John Ryan, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at the firm, said he would not comment on personnel changes.

HSBC had been trying to rebuild its investment-banking unit and boost profit by hiring from firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley. The former co-head of investment banking, John Studzinski, added about 1,400 people to the corporate and investment bank last year, increasing expenses and contributing to the unit's pretax earnings drop.

In New York, HSBC cut about 20 positions in its bond group a day after the firm reported a drop in trading revenue, said two people with knowledge of the firings.

Pierre Goad, a London-based spokesman for HSBC's investment bank, confirmed there were dismissals. He wouldn't provide details on the number of job losses or the positions. The cuts were out of a group of 130 worldwide in bonds in New York, Hong Kong and London, according to one of the people.

HSBC is trimming jobs as rivals like Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc post record earnings this year. Net trading income at HSBC's securities unit rose 76 percent in the first half, lagging the 92 percent gain at London-based Barclays Capital.

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