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CIMB Said to Consider Keeping Two-Thirds of RBS Workers in Asia

CIMB Chief Executive Officer Nazir Razak
Nazir Razak, chief executive officer of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., said that the company was in talks to buy part of RBS’s investment banking and securities business in the region. Photographer: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., in talks to buy Asian assets from Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, may keep about two-thirds of the workforce at the divisions after the takeover, said three people familiar with the negotiations.

Malaysia’s second-biggest lender is in talks to buy the regional mergers advisory, cash equities and equity capital markets operations from RBS, Britain’s biggest state-owned lender, the people said. They asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Those units together employ as many as 600 workers, according to the people.

RBS has cut more than 30,000 jobs since receiving the world’s biggest banking bailout. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester last month reported a wider-than-estimated loss of 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) for 2011 and is shrinking the bank’s balance sheet by selling assets overseas.

Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB is negotiating guaranteed compensation packages to lock in some RBS bankers under new ownership, the people said. The number of RBS employees that will stay with CIMB after the takeover may change, according to the people.

CIMB officials didn’t return e-mails and text messages seeking comment on the talks. Yuk Min Hui, a spokeswoman for Edinburgh-based RBS, declined to comment.

CIMB Chief Executive Officer Nazir Razak, seeking to build a pan-Asian financial-services provider, said Feb. 28 that the company was in talks to buy part of RBS’s investment banking and securities business in the region.

RBS said last month it plans to move its Australian fixed-income and currency trading business to Singapore and London. RBS was in discussions about the sale of its local equities and mergers advisory businesses, Andrew Chick, who leads the bank’s Australian unit, said in a Feb. 28 statement.

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