Last week was one of the worst for job losses, but, as we come up to Christmas, many more staff face the axe - and thus the loss of their year-end bonus too. And the smart money says that things will get no better as we move into 2009.
Citigroup has already confirmed that it plans to lay-off 23,000 staff this year, but rumours are rife that the final tally may be as high as 40,000, as CEO Vikram Pandit tries to reduce staff costs by up to 25%. CNBC reports that Pandit is likely to reveal the total number of job cuts at a Town Hall meeting Monday. The TV channel quotes one unnamed 'person close to the company', who said: 'The object here is for people to take notice. The exact number is still a moving target, but it will be dramatic'.
And The Sunday Telegraph reports that JPMorgan Chase is drawing up plans to cut thousands of staff globally. The investment banking unit is likely to be significantly affected. This will come as no surprise as JPMorgan has lagged rivals like Citi, Goldman and Morgan Stanley when it comes to reducing headcount. The newspaper says that the actual job cuts are likely to start early next year.
Royal Bank of Scotland is said to be cutting some 3,000 positions within its 20,000-person Global Banking & Markets business in the coming weeks, although these cuts are unlikely to be the last. Insiders say that another two rounds of cuts are likely into 2009.
And Bloomberg is reporting that more job cuts are now likely over at Credit Suisse's securities unit. These are in addition to the 500 cuts made just two weeks ago. Chief targets are thought likely to be staff who work in equities sales and trading, corporate finance and debt and equity underwriting. The Swiss bank is also said to be considering a joint venture, or even the sale, of a part of its asset management division.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Morgan Stanley is considering scaling back its prop trading capabilities in order to conserve capital and save on staff costs.
And Merrill Lynch is busy working through the ranks, as it makes good on its most recently announced job cuts promise. A number of IT professionals are said to have been laid-off last week.
Reuters reports that Fidelity Investments has confirmed that 1,700 staff will go next year. This is in additional to the 1,300 job losses already announced. Executives are said to have agreed on a number, but have not yet signed-off on exactly where the axe will fall. The news agency also reports that Susquehanna Financial Group shut down its midtown Manhattan office last week. 30 bankers and analysts covering healthcare and biotech stocks lost their jobs.
One banker told Here Is The City: 'It doesn't matter who you are, or where you work. All bets are off. No one is safe from the job axe. Everyone who works in the financial markets should be pulling in their horns and preparing for the worst'.
Finally, a little good news. Bloomberg reports that Barclays Capital continues to expand its commodities team, anticipating a resumption in the bull run in raw materials. The firm is said to have increased unit headcount from 225 at the start of the year to 300 staff.
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