Several weeks into his appointment in December, the new CEO of Barclays Jes Staley is taking steps to optimize the bank’s operations. Sources cited by Bloomberg have confided that the investment bank is planning to axe some 1000 positions globally.
The changes have not been made public, however the bank is expected to announce major restructuring to its business in March. In what is one of the most drastic cuts to staff in an investment bank since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, the company is expected to exit a number of countries in Asia.
Barclays is closing operations in Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia. That said, the company has decided to keep its prime broker and derivatives business in Asia with a presence in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore and India.
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The company is joining a number of other European lenders as it aims to boost profitability and refocus its efforts on the most profitable businesses for the company. Most of the job cuts are said to be in Asia with as many as 450 jobs expected to be cut.
For the past six months, European banks have publicized about 130,000 job cuts. With equity and commodities markets tanking, a number of units at major investment banks have become unprofitable.
Barclays is said to be exploring the sale of its precious metals business as well as cash equity sales units in Central Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Looking deeper into the company’s maneuvers in Asia, the firm is focusing its efforts on existing financial hubs, while cutting losses in the periphery. Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore have been racing for the title of the financial center of Asia for decades with no clear winner as global banks are continuing to hold substantial operations in these cities.