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The Letter That May Result In The Break-Up Of Top Firm

Here's the full contents of the letter sent Thursday by former UBS President Luqman Arnold (now boss of Olivant Advisers) to UBS board member Sergio Marchione. Arnold, who insists that he doesn't want an executive role at UBS, questions the bank's 'one bank' strategy and calls for the separation of the investment banking, asset manaement and private banking units as a prelude to the break-up of the business.

Top Firm Said To Be Cutting Thousands

Wall Street Bull

CNBC reports that it has learned that Merrill Lynch is going to lay off between 10 - 15% of its non-broker (financial adviser) workforce beginning in May. According to its website, Merrill currently emplys 64,200 staff, 15,930 of whom are financial advisers.

All The Latest Market Gossip

You got to hand it to the guys and girls over at Bear Stearns - at least their sense of humour remains intact, despite their ongoing trials. Rumour has it that staff in the US are now going around referring to their employer as 'the firm formerly known as Bear Stearns'!

More Market News

The Financial Times reports that London's Plexus Partners $1.4bn flagship hedge fund is said to have lost more than a third of its value this year 'after arbitrage trades in the credit markets went spectacularly wrong'. The newspaper also reports that Russell Investments is to close two of its three main hedge funds (The Alternative Strategies Fund and The Alternative Strategies Fund 2), after assets fell below less than $2bn to a third of the level of only 6 months ago.

Mixed Views On Future Market Prospects

The news is mixed about the future prospects of the markets. Some feel that the news this week that UBS has finally got out in front of its subprime problems and that Lehman has put to bed any doubts about its own liquidity position mean that the worst is over. Others are not so sure.