Morning Coffee: Another day, another 15 more banking job cuts in Singapore

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The week began with the news that Goldman Sachs had shed 15 investment banking jobs in Singapore since early January. Now the Business Times is reporting that CIMB has also cut 15 roles from its equities business in Singapore, mainly institutional sales positions and a few research jobs.

On Friday we predicted that more cuts were on the cards at CIMB. The 50 Hong Kong-focused redundancies that it had announced at the time seemed too few to meet its target of reducing investment banking costs by 30%.

Unfortunately, we are still hearing from headhunters that CIMB is looking to make more IBD layoffs in Singapore and Hong Kong this year. And comments from CIMB's newly appointed group chief executive Tengku Zafrul Aziz yesterday were hardly reassuring. “It is not an easy thing to do. I'm restructuring and recalibrating the investment banking business to reflect the new realities of investment banking,” he told the Business Times. “We are scaling back, not shutting down the operations within the investment banking business.”

The redundancies in Singapore come as the value of equity deals in Southeast Asia fell to $24.1bn in 2014, from $36.6bn a year earlier. CIMB has also suffered a big fall in profits. The CIMB job losses add to the already tough labour market for equities-related professionals across Asia.

Recruiters in Singapore do not expect CIMB to be doing much hiring in any of its departments in Singapore this year, other than to replace staff who leave. “Hiring in large numbers in Singapore is becoming more expensive for Malaysian banks because the ringgit has fallen against the Singapore dollar,” a recruiter in Singapore, who asked not to be named because of client confidentiality, told us.


BNP Paribas moves banker from Paris to Hong Kong to head equity-linked Asia Pacific. (Finance Asia)

CIMB has appointed a new CFO. (Straits Times)

99.7% of private bankers in Singapore meet competency assessment requirements. (Business Times)

The three hand-written lists that Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman keeps on his desk. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Taiwan is now the hottest location for international issuers to raise renminbi this year. (South China Morning Post)

Singapore trails Hong Kong and China in boardroom gender diversity. (Asia One)

NUS to offer career planning to first-year students. (Straits Times)

Banks in Singapore step up their credit-card battle. (Channel News Asia)

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