Lloyds Cuts Credit Traders, Salesmen as Hardman Said to Exit

  • Senior traders and salesmen said to be affected by reductions
  • Bank is `fully committed' to providing credit-market services

Lloyds Banking Group Plc, the British lender partly backed by taxpayers, is making cuts to its credit sales and trading operations amid efforts to reduce costs and simplify the bank.

Credit traders Martin De Ville and Charles Lewis-Basson as well as salesmen Mike Hardman and Cameron Wright will leave the bank as part of the cuts, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the moves weren’t public.

Lloyds decided to “reduce our credit sales and trading operations” within its financial markets business and is “working through these changes with employees,” said Siobhan McCluskey, a spokeswoman for the bank, who didn’t specify the total number of jobs cut.

Chief Executive Officer Antonio Horta-Osorio is eliminating thousands of jobs and focusing the bank on lending to U.K. consumers and businesses, as other major European lenders are pruning investment-banking operations amid concerns over global economic growth and market volatility. He raised the dividend for last year and is striving to boost shareholder payouts further.

Shares Drop

The stock fell 2.1 percent to 66.9 pence at 11:57 a.m. in London trading as shares of major lenders across Europe slumped. Lloyds declined about 8.4 percent this year, the best performance among Britain’s biggest banks.

“We operate in a highly competitive market so we need to create a simpler, more agile business that can respond swiftly to changing customer needs and requirements,” the spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement. The company will “remain fully committed to the provision of credit markets services, which are important components of our business customers’ needs.”

Lloyds commercial banking division, which houses trading activities in addition to corporate lending, generated almost a third of the bank’s 8.1 billion pounds ($11.6 billion) in underlying profit last year. The unit accounted for almost half of the lender’s 222.7 billion pounds in risk-weighted assets.

The cuts at Lloyds follow similar moves by lenders around the world seeking to trim fixed income trading operations amid tougher capital requirements, whipsawing markets and thinning liquidity. The heads of Barclays Plc’s distressed-debt and investment-grade bond trading were said in February to be leaving the bank as it seeks to cut 1,200 jobs worldwide in an effort to boost profitability, a person with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

De Ville declined to comment when reached by phone. The other men didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

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