ING Groep NV, the biggest Dutch financial-services company, will eliminate about 130 jobs as it closes its emerging European equities operation to focus on Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland.
ING will cut about 100 analysts, salesmen, traders and sales-traders, Adrian Simpson, a spokesman for the commercial banking unit said by telephone today. As much as half of the reductions will be in London, he said. ING is also eliminating about 30 corporate finance positions, mostly ones focusing on eastern Europe.
The Amsterdam-based firm is trying to reduce costs as the European sovereign debt crisis crimps the pace of mergers and stock trading in the region. The decision follows a similar move by UniCredit SpA, Italy’s largest bank, which in June said it would scale back its central and eastern European equities unit.
“Market conditions are very tough, and the length of the downturn is sustained,” London-based Simpson said. “We have to be very disciplined in how we manage our costs in this type of environment.”
Costs as a proportion of income at ING’s financial markets unit, which include the equities division, climbed to 75 percent in the first half, up from 59 percent in the year-earlier period. Profit at the operation shrank to 100 million euros ($129 million) in the period from 235 million euros.
The lender will keep its Belgium and Dutch equities operations open, and also retain a domestic equities operation in Poland, where ING Bank Slaski SA is based, Simpson said. Beyond London and Moscow, ING is mostly cutting jobs in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania, he said.
ING is separately selling its insurance unit before the end of 2013 to meet European Union conditions after it received a government bailout in 2008 and 2009.