Bloomberg is reporting that Barclays Capital is to axe up to 600 jobs around the world following a review of its operations.
The firm appears to be the first to have blinked. How many others are now likely to follow BarCap's lead ?
Here's our take on the prospects for job security at most of the biggest firms in the industry.
Rather than rate them individually, we have put them in groups under six headings: very high risk, relatively high risk, moderate risk, some risk, relatively little risk and unknown risk.
Note that we are not suggesting that even firms in the 'relatively high risk' category are going to wield the job axe - just that, in our view, relative to other firms, there is a greater likelihood that jobs will be axed.
Very High Risk
Gartmore - up to 200 of the firm's 275 employees are said likely to go in the event that the planned takeover by Henderson goes ahead.
Relatively High Risk
Credit Suisse Investment Bank
Royal Bank of Scotland Global Banking & Markets
State Street - the firm has announced that it will cut 5% of its global headcount (1,400 jobs)
Credit Suisse Investment Bank beefed up headcount substantially in 2010, and will be under pressure to axe jobs unless the markets pick up early in the New Year.
NB - staff at Barclays Wealth are thought to be in no immediate danger, as the unit continues to be in growth mode.
Man Group is working through the GLG acquisition and there will be some job losses there as a result, and RBS is still in the process of restructuring its businesses, with more job losses expected in 2011.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Nomura (investment banking)
BofA Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and Goldman haven't beefed up payrolls as much as BarCap and Credit Suisse and therefore will have a little more time before they have to wield the job axe.
Nomura is playing a longer game and the firm will not want to spook the market by axing jobs unless it really has to.
Schwab will be hoping that the retail investor returns to the markets early next year and existing headcount can remain largely intact.
AllianceBernstein's restructure is almost complete.
Morgan Stanley has a hiring freeze in place and hopes to be able to ride things out without axing staff.
NB - staff at Morgan Stanley's wealth management unit face relatively little risk of losing their jobs in the foreseeable future, as the firm continues to beef up that business.
These are firms that either:
1. Have been relatively more conservative building out headcount in 2010
2. Are still in cautious growth mode
3. Already have headcount broadly in line with projected revenues
4. Or have already wielded the job axe.
BNP Paribas (1)
Bank of New York Mellon (3)
Credit Agricole (investment bank) (3)
Daiwa Capital Markets (3)
HSBC Investment Bank (2)
ING Financial Markets (3)
Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets (1)
MF Global (4)
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities (3)
Northern Trust (3)
Societe Generale (1)
Standard Bank (4)
Tullett Prebon (2)
UBS Investment Bank (2)
Relatively Little Risk
Probably the most secure places to work in the industry right now, as most of these firms are looking at growing rather than shrinking in 2011.
Cantor Fitzgerald / BGC Partners
CIBC World Markets
Jefferies & Co
RBC Capital Markets
Standard Chartered Bank
Wells Fargo (Corporate & Institutional Banking)
Standard & Poor's
Many feel that the rating agencies' business models are unsustainable, and WestLB is pursuing merger and other options.
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