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Barclays to pare office space in Tokyo's Roppongi after job cuts

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Barclays Plc will reduce office space at its loss-making Japanese brokerage unit to trim expenses after cutting jobs earlier this year.

[TOKYO] Barclays Plc will reduce office space at its loss-making Japanese brokerage unit to trim expenses after cutting jobs earlier this year.

The UK bank, which rents two floors of the Mori Tower in Tokyo's Roppongi Hills office complex, will vacate about half of the 31st floor as early as this year while keeping its space on the 32nd, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified because the plan is private.

Barclays asked about 100 people from equities in Tokyo to leave earlier this year as part of a fresh round of cuts across Asia, people familiar with the situation said at the time. The equity division is located on the 32nd floor.

"This consolidation of office space is the logical consequence of that earlier decision," Barclays said in an e-mailed statement. "We have had a significant presence in Japan for close to 50 years, and our new, sharper focus ensures that we will be an even stronger player in the Japanese market in the years ahead," the bank said, without giving further details.

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Chief executive officer Jes Staley has pared the scope of the London-based firm's investment-banking business to bolster profitability that's been hampered by misconduct fines, lower trading revenue and higher regulatory costs.

Barclays Securities Japan posted a loss of 8.6 billion yen (S$115.6 million) for the year ended March 31, widening from 2.9 billion yen a year earlier, according to its latest earnings disclosure. It had 503 employees, down from 588 a year earlier, the filing showed.

Roppongi Hills, once a popular location for investment banks, has become better known for its information technology companies, with Google Inc and Apple Inc among the firms at Mori Tower. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc was a tenant before it went bankrupt, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc has reduced its space there.

Meanwhile, several securities firms are relocating their Tokyo operations. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co finished moving its 2,300 employees in July to a new building in the Otemachi financial district from Mejirodai, said Hiroaki Konishi, a spokesman at the brokerage.

Citigroup Inc plans to move its Japan headquarters from the Shin-Marunouchi Building to the Otemachi Park Building, which is under construction, in the second half of next year, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

Nomura Research Institute Ltd will move its headquarters to Otemachi from the neighbouring Marunouchi district in December.

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