More Misery As Firm Staff Get Canned Two Days Before Year-End

Bear Having a Bath

Spare a thought for those folks over at Bear Stearns who got canned Wednesday - just two days before the firm's year-end. There's never a good time to lose your job, but possibly also losing out on a bonus after working 362 days of the fiscal year just about takes the biscuit.

650 Bear staff were tapped on the shoulder Wednesday and told that they were to be out of a job. The cuts, some 4% of the global workforce, are spread mainly among front and back office, and include operations, IT, sales and fixed income professionals. There have also been some more heads chopped at the firm's mortgage operations. Some of the 650 staff are understood to likely leave without a bonus payout for 2007, although this could vary from individual to individual. Around 20 are thought to have been affected by the cull in Bear's securities business in Canary Wharf, London.

The third round of job cuts at Bear Stearns this year now takes the total jobs shed at the firm in 2007 to around 1,550, approximately 10% of the workforce. Notwithstanding the job cuts, Bear remains committed to its expansion plans in Europe and Asia. Although always saying that the additional hiring was contingent on ongoing strong market conditions, despite the recent credit crunch and concomitant market turmoil, Bear continues to hire for its growing energy, prime brokerage, structured equity products and wealth management businesses. The firm also continues to beef up fixed income in areas unaffected by recent market events.

Bear issued a statement Wednesday, which said that 'as we indicated at the end of October, we are continuing to rationalize our business, monitor staffing needs and align our infrastructure with current market conditions'.

This week is shaping up to be a bad one for job prospects. With another 650 out at Bear, speculation continues about how just  how many additional heads will be cut in the New Year over at Citi, with CNBC reporting rumours early this week that up to 45,000 of the company's 320,000 jobs are at risk. Rumours are also flying that several firms are now moving up plans to offshore staff to lower cost locations. Those subprime chickens, it seems, are really coming home to roost.

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