Barclays has embarked on a fresh round of job cuts to its investment banking business worldwide on Thursday which would result in a complete exit from cash equities in Asia, an internal memo showed, as new Chief Executive Jes Staley wields the axe in a bid to slash costs and boost returns.
The harsher-than-expected cuts are among the most sweeping worldwide culls by an investment bank in recent years, as Staley in common with peers at other European lenders moves to reduce costs amid a tough global environment for banks.
Barclays will shutter its investment banking businesses in countries including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, the memo said, with those markets to be covered from financial hub cities in their respective regions.
A spokesman for Barclays in Hong Kong declined to comment on the cuts because they are not public.
With 10 of Europe's biggest lenders announcing 130,000 job losses since June, bank chief executives are looking to cut in businesses where they lack scale to focus on more profitable markets.
The reduction in jobs are also in response to the turmoil in global equities and commodities markets, which is making it harder for investment banks to make money in the traditional business lines.
The cuts in the London-headquartered bank were announced to staff in meetings on Thursday across the Asia-Pacific region, according a source with direct knowledge.
"Asia is bearing the brunt," the source added.
The total number of jobs to be shed in the latest Barclays reduction is unclear, but a source with direct knowledge of the matter said the Asian equities cuts alone could total about 200 people. A separate source with knowledge of the cuts said the Asia total would be 450 people.
The Financial Times previously reported that Barclays would shed as many as 1000 jobs worldwide in the latest cull.
Barclays is also exploring the sale of its global precious metals business, the memo said, as well as shuttering cash equity sales across Central Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the memo showed.
The lender will also end its onshore markets coverage in Brazil.
Reuters on Jan. 5 reported the cuts in the Asia investment banking business and exits from South Korea and Taiwan, as Barclays retreated from peripheral Asian businesses to focus on hubs including Hong Kong and Singapore. (Reporting By Anshuman Daga and Lawrence White, additional reporting by Xiaowen Bi; Editing by Denny Thomas and Stephen Coates)