RHB Institutional Equity Asia head leaves amid restructuring

[SINGAPORE] RHB Bank Bhd's Asian head of institutional equities at its securities unit Lena Yong left last week as the Malaysian lender restructured the business.

"Yes, there was a restructuring and I was restructured out with the regional roles brought back to Malaysia," said Singapore-based Yong in a telephone interview.

"This is the sad state of the financial industry which is going through a transition."

RHB joins other financial firms in revamping its operations amid cost pressures. CLSA Ltd, the brokerage owned by China's Citic Securities Co on Monday shut its US equity research operations, dismissing more than half of its workers in the country.

Fidelity Investments is offering buyouts to 3,000 veteran employees while Deutsche Bank AG is said to be planning to cut staff at its trading business.

"Our wholesale equities was reorganised into a single pillar which comprises of institutional equities and equity capital markets," RHB said in an emailed response to queries.

The "reframed strategy," which includes the setting up of a wholesale banking division under its corporate reorganisation, will strengthen the lender's business focus, RHB said.

Azura Azman is the Kuala Lumpur-based Group Wholesale Equities head, the bank said. There are 103 employees, including 52 in Malaysia at the wholesale equities operation. RHB declined to comment on the number of employees affected by the restructuring.

Three others at the 11-person institutional equities unit left earlier this year, said Ms Yong, 56. Ms Yong, who has a training firm Liam Consultants, said she will run training courses for finance executives. She was with RHB from 2013 and had stints with UOB Kay Hian, Macquarie Group and CLSA, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The Malaysian lender on Feb 24 reported fourth-quarter net income tumbled 28 per cent to 261.2 million ringgit (S$82.749 million).

In 2015, RHB paid 309 million ringgit to cut 12 per cent of its 15,348 Malaysian workforce as it sought to remain "relevant, competitive and resilient".


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