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Financial Markets Professionals Worry About Layoffs

A new poll published by eFinancialCareers reveals that 64% of UK London-based financial markets professionals feel that the job axe is about to start chopping heads. Almost half of these professionals (49%) indicated that they thought redundancies were 'very likely'.

ABN AMRO, Barclays, Bear Stearns, SocGen

Although still hedging his bets, Barclays President Bob Diamond all but waved the white flag Monday, acknowledging that the Royal Bank of Scotland consortium is likely to win out in the fight for Dutch bank ABN AMRO.

Loved Up Workers Do It Better

So, you thought  all that stuff about employee benefits was a bit boring ? Well, for the most part, it is - all that 'nonsense' about life cover, private healthcare, pensions and the like (you know, the kind of stuff you don't need to worry about unless you're either dead, sick or retired). But the more enterprising firms are now beginning to cotton on to the fact that a happy employee is a more productive employee. And so 'love' is being added to the flexible benefits package.

The Letter That Has Put HSBC In Focus

Here's a copy of the letter dated 4th September to Stephen Green, HSBC's Executive Chairman, from Eric Knight, Knight Vinke Asset Management and Dennis Johnson of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).

Activist Investor Puts Another Big Firm In Firing Line

Knight Vinke & HSBC

Knight Vinke Asset Management, the activist shareholder group, has put the boot in over at HSBC, issuing a statement which confirms that it has written to the bank's board 'requesting that it undertake a fundamental review of the group's strategy in consultation with its shareholders'. The activist investor is also said to have raised a number of unspecified corporate governance concerns and has asked the board to consider these as part of the review.

Top Firm In Again With Another $1bn SIV Bailout Plan

Just when we thought it might be safe to get back in the water - Barclays Capital is planning to step in again and provide $1bn in rescue finance to bail out Mainsail II, a structured investment vehicle (SIV) managed by London-based hedge fund Solent Capital.

SIVs & Hedge Funds - The Latest News

Reuters reports that concerns are growing that some of the large investment banks are still not coming out and revealing their potential exposure to SIVs (structured investment vehicles) which have invested in US subprime lending-related assets. And this lack of transparency, it seems, is not helping the market.

And Here's Some Good News (We Found Some!)

The Financial Times reports that Jean-Pierre Mustier, the boss over at SG Corporate & Investment Bank, has described the behaviour of the credit market in August as 'irrational'. He said that he felt confident that the markets would begin to function again soon, and that appetite for credit risk would return to 2004 levels.

More Bad News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann confirmed Tuesday that the bank had been impacted from the recent credit crunch in the markets, but said that Deutsche's exposure to hedge funds were 'fully collateralized and (that) margin calls are being met'. According to the newsaper, the bank has said that its total assets in asset-backed commercial paper conduits was around $43.6bn. The bank also said that there were signs that the market is stabilizing.