Top Firm Said Looking To Cut Up To 1,200 Jobs

Fox Business News reports that Morgan Stanley is looking to close as many as 300 branches and axe up to 1,200 staff at its Morgan Stanley Smith Barney wealth unit over the next year, as it merges the two businesses and attempts to capture some $1.1bn in cost savings.

In the meantime, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman has told The Financial Times that he has created a new 'client taskforce' which is designed to 'break down internal barriers' that prevented the firm from selling a 'wider range of products and services to fund managers and companies'.

Gorman told the newspaper: 'Historically we've approached clients with a product-group face, rather than sitting back and saying, 'How do we bring all that we have at Morgan Stanley from research through to the specific product groups to them ?'.

And CNBC reports that Rochdale Securities analyst Richard Bove has slashed his price target for Bank of America from $27.50 to $22.80. Bove said: 'Bank of America is currently facing serious challenges from multiple sources - both government and market driven. The government issues touch upon every aspect of the business'.

The Financial Times has also reported that China has had a pop at Goldman Sachs now too. The newspaper quotes the opening lines from an article in state-owned China Youth Daily, which said: 'Many people believe Goldman Sachs, which goes around the Chinese market slurping gold and sucking silver, may have - using all kinds of deals - created even bigger losses for Chinese companies and investors than it did with its fraudulent actions in the US'.

On a more positive note, Bloomberg reports that Cantor Fitzgerald plans to hire around 100 people into its derivatives and convertible bond units in the next year, as the firm 'seeks to more than double its equity division and expand outside the US'.

And The London Evening Standard reports that HSBC could sell off its five private equity businesses in MBOs, as it moves to focus on core operations. The newspaper says that the units could be spun-off in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

The New York Times reports that Societe Generale's most famous (ex) staffer, trader Jerome Kerviel, goes on trial in France Tuesday. Charged with breach of trust, forgery and unauthorized use of the firm's computer systems, Kerviel is hoping to prove that senior officials were aware of his trading activities, and that the $5.9bn loss the bank ultimately sustained on his book wasn't just down to him.

Finally, The Sunday Times reports that UK securities regulator The Financial Services Authority is stress-testing Britain's biggest banks over fears that they could sustain further losses because of the 'growing financial problems of the eurozone'.

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