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[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's second-largest bank CIMB Group Holdings said it had cut dozens of jobs in its Hong Kong investment banking and equities business as it struggles to manage costs amid deteriorating market conditions.
The cuts, which affected 32 staff, were announced in an internal memo and confirmed by Group Chief Executive Zafrul Aziz on Monday in a statement emailed to Reuters.
A person with knowledge of the matter told Thomson Reuters publication IFR that the cuts accounted for nearly a quarter of CIMB's Hong Kong workforce.
Following the job cuts 110 staff remain at the unit, said the source who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media. Chris Hunt, CIMB's head of Asian research, was among the staff let go, the source added.
The Hong Kong expansion for CIMB came after it bought the regional equity and corporate finance businesses of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in 2012, a purchase that has failed to generate sufficient revenue for the Malaysian bank.
Many investment banks are paring back their presence in Asia, where slowing growth in China's economy, market volatility across the region and a drop in deal volumes have forced lenders to cut costs.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Barclays will cut jobs in its Asian investment banking arm. CIMB, which spent the last decade expanding into Southeast Asia, also said in July that 11 per cent of its workforce in Malaysia and Indonesia had opted for redundancy.
"The Group is not spared from the harsh realities of the deteriorating capital markets faced by players with investment banking and equities businesses in Asia," Zafrul said in the memo. "We continue to face difficult markets and we will need to be very focused to ensure that we remain relevant to clients."