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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Barclays layoffs to hit home

BRITISH banking giant Barclays said on Tuesday that it will cut 2,100 jobs in its investment banking and wealth management units, with some positions in Singapore at risk.

Barclays' operations in Singapore include Barclays Capital, Barclays Wealth Management and Barclays Global Investors, employing more than 2,500 bankers and back-end staff in total.

A Barclays spokesman in Singapore did not elaborate on possible job cuts here but The Straits Times understands that some staff were told on Wednesday morning that they are being laid off.

Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that Barclays is making deep cuts across all its units.

It said about 1,300 jobs will go at Barclays Capital, 6 per cent of the investment banking unit's total headcount, while 330 people will go at Barclays Global Investors, 8 per cent of that division.

The remainder will be cut from Barclays' private bank while the bank said last week that 408 information technology jobs will be axed in Britain.

Reuters reported that Barclays Capital employs about 20,500 people, Barclays Wealth Management about 8,000 and Barclays Global Investors about 3,800.

A Barclays spokesman told The Straits Times on Wednesday: 'We can confirm that we have begun a process to reduce headcount across some parts of investment banking and investment management to ensure that we are appropriately sized, given market conditions.'

The cuts follow more than 3,000 job cuts Barclays instigated last year when it acquired the trading and investment banking units of the now-bankrupt United States investment bank Lehman Brothers for US$1.75 billion (S$2.6 billion).

In November last year, the bank raised 7 billion pounds (S$15 billion), mainly from the Middle East, to shore up capital reserves depleted by writedowns.

Analysts expect such downsizing to continue at financial giants like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and UBS, which all have investment banking units that have taken a hammering over the past 12 months.

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