BNP Said to Shrink Cash Equities in Asia With Up to 40 Job Cuts

  • French bank said to exit cash-equities business in Indonesia
  • Job cuts said to include more than a dozen in Hong Kong

BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, is scaling back its cash-equities unit in Asia in a move that includes cutting as many as 40 jobs and exiting the business in Indonesia, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The job reductions, including more than a dozen in Hong Kong, would be equivalent to as much as 20 percent of the Paris-based bank’s cash-equities workforce in Asia, the person said. As part of the move, BNP Paribas is relocating employees from Korea and other smaller markets to Hong Kong, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing private information.

BNP Paribas is among global banks cutting expenses to help weather record-low interest rates, turbulent markets and tougher regulatory requirements. The lender announced plans last month to eliminate as many as 675 positions at its corporate and institutional banking unit in Paris as part of a 1 billion-euro ($1.1 billion) cost-reduction plan at the division. The bank reported this week a surprise increase in first-quarter profit.

BNP Paribas is also cutting almost in half the number of Taiwanese stocks in its research coverage, the person said. Lilian Goh, a spokeswoman for the bank in Hong Kong, declined to comment.

The firm wants to reduce the cost of operating in smaller Asian outposts and is seeking to locate most of its equity research business in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mumbai, the person said. It will serve global clients seeking to trade cash equities in Asia out of Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Mumbai and New York, the person said. 

The bank will end its research coverage of Asian commodities and industrial stocks, and focus on sectors including telecommunications and technology, real estate, financial institutions, consumer and energy and renewables, the person said.

Barclays Plc announced in January the closure of its cash-equities businesses in seven Asian countries as part of a restructuring to focus on its most profitable businesses in the U.S. and the U.K.

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