Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg

BofA Said to Be Poised to Cut About a Dozen Senior Asia Jobs

  • Managing director, director-level staff said to be affected
  • Follows steep investment-banking cuts by Goldman Sachs in Asia

Bank of America Corp. plans to eliminate about a dozen senior positions at its corporate and investment-banking operations in Asia, the second time the U.S. firm is cutting jobs in the region this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The reductions by the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank will involve managing directors and directors and will be spread across the region, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The cuts could start as early as Wednesday, another person said.

As deal-making dries up in Southeast Asia and Chinese securities firms make inroads in initial public offerings and debt underwriting, global investment banks are under pressure to reduce costs. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to eliminate about a quarter of the positions at its investment bank in Asia outside Japan, a person with knowledge of the matter said last week.

Bank of America, which eliminated more than 10,000 jobs globally in 2015, fired at least 15 senior investment bankers in Asia in March, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. Mark Tsang, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at the company, declined to comment on staff reductions. The March reductions affected a total of about 150 trading and investment-banking employees.

Unpaid Leave

In another sign of the difficult conditions in Asian markets, CLSA Ltd. asked its 1,500 brokerage and investment-banking staff to take five or 10 days of unpaid leave as part of an effort to lower costs, according to Simone Wheeler, a spokeswoman in Hong Kong.

CLSA, owned by China’s Citic Securities Ltd., asked its staff to sacrifice pay on three previous occasions, Wheeler said. During the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, the firm said staff who gave up some of their salary could earn it back through a bonus when CLSA achieved a certain cost-to-income ratio. The company offered a similar salary and incentive program in 2003, when the SARS epidemic hit Hong Kong.

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