Morgan Stanley and HSBC Initiate Major Job Cuts in Asia Pacific Investment Banking

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Morgan Stanley and HSBC are reducing their investment banking workforce in the Asia Pacific due to sluggish markets and lower deal activities, particularly in China and Hong Kong. This aligns with similar downsizing trends across the industry.

This week, Morgan Stanley and HSBC are implementing significant job reductions in their investment banking divisions across the Asia Pacific, according to sources familiar with the situation. These cuts come as both banks face challenges due to decreased deal-making activities and lackluster market conditions in China and Hong Kong, impacting their business outlook.

Morgan Stanley is set to eliminate at least 50 investment banking roles in the region, which constitutes about 13% of its Asia investment banking staff of 400, three informed sources reported. Meanwhile, the investment banking sector of HSBC, which generates most of its revenue and profits in Asia, began layoffs on Tuesday. Approximately 30 dealmakers are expected to exit the bank this week, as confirmed by three different sources.

All sources requested anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss these matters with the media.

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When approached for comments, Morgan Stanley did not provide any statements regarding the layoffs. HSBC had not responded to inquiries about the job cuts as of Wednesday.

These layoffs represent some of the most substantial reductions within the two banks’ teams focused on China and come in the wake of similar downsizing efforts by other banks affected by the downturn in Chinese deal-making due to the slowing economy.

The trend of reducing staff started to intensify at the end of 2023 in China and Hong Kong, which are major regional hubs for Western investment banking. This movement is expected to accelerate throughout the current year, as indicated by industry bankers and recruiters.

Earlier in January, Bank of America also reduced its staff by approximately 20 bankers in the region. This followed a series of cutbacks by major banks like UBS, Citigroup, and various boutique firms.

Source: Reuters

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