Morgan Stanley Said to Pare Asia Investment Bank Jobs by 15%

Morgan Stanley plans to trim about 15 percent of its investment banking positions in Asia as it starts a round of job cuts this week, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The cuts would involve 55 to 60 bankers in Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Xu Li, a Beijing-based spokeswoman, declined to comment.

The job reduction in Asia investment banking will be deeper than the 6 percent cut to be made across the broader institutional securities group, which includes fixed-income and equity sales and trading, research and investment banking, the person said.

Asian Managing Directors Saul Raccah and Leon Guo are among the investment bankers who will leave New York-based Morgan Stanley, the people said. Raccah, based in Hong Kong, is Asia-Pacific head of oil and gas on the investment-banking team, while Guo is managing director for real estate, focusing on China.

Another managing director, Zhang Jianyong, 48, who primarily advised power and utility clients in China, has already left, the people said. Raccah and Zhang declined to comment, and Guo didn’t return three calls to his mobile phone.

The 15 percent cuts will mainly affect country bankers and staff in the mergers and acquisitions and global capital market units in the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan, one of the people said.

Share Sales

Morgan Stanley was ranked fourth in underwriting equity, equity-linked and rights offers in Asia excluding Japan last year, slipping from No. 2 in 2011 and No. 1 in 2010, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Share sales in the region slumped to a four-year low in 2012, the data show, as China’s slowing economy dissuaded companies from tapping equity markets.

The U.S. bank ranked third in advising on mergers and acquisitions in Asia ex-Japan last year, unchanged from 2011, the data show. It ranked 10th in underwriting euro, yen and U.S. dollar bonds in the region, the data show.

Globally, Morgan Stanley is eliminating about 1,600 jobs from its investment bank and support staff in coming weeks, with half the reductions in the U.S., a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Jan. 9. The cuts will total about 6 percent of the global institutional securities group, the person said.

The bank will inform its staff in Asia about their bonus payments for 2012 this week, the people said.

Citigroup said last month it would eliminate 11,000 jobs and pull back from some emerging-market nations. UBS AG announced in October that it would fire 10,000 workers and largely exit fixed-income trading.

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