Macquarie said to axe around 30 in Asia

Among the casualties as the Australian bank looks to cut costs is Shanghai-based veteran analyst Matthew Smith and head of sales for Asia cash equities Jeffrey Chung.

Some 30 people have been let go at Macquarie as the Australian bank retrenches from the region due to increased competition and lower trading volumes, according to two people familiar with the matter. 

Matthew Smith left the bank this week as a China financials analyst in Shanghai after more than 13 years with the Sydney-based firm, joining a casualty list that stretches across Hong Kong, Japan, and India, the two people said. 

Prior to his role in China, he covered banks, insurance companies, and brokerage firms in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, according to his LinkedIn profile. Smith could not immediately be reached for comment through a Linkedin message.

Jeffrey Chung, Hong Kong-based head of sales for Asia cash equities, has also left the bank less than a year after he joined, the two people familiar with the matter said. He was previously a partner with RAYS Capital Partners, a Hong Kong-based fund management firm.

A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Macquarie declined to comment on the redundancies. 
 
Tougher times
 
One of the people familiar with the matter said the job cuts at Macquarie form part of a broader initiative to trim costs as tougher competition crimps revenues.

Macquarie has 3,599 employees in Asia who generated income of A$1.3 billion ($950 million) for the infrastructure fund and investment bank in the year to March 31, according to its latest presentation to investors.

But it is not alone in seeking to trim costs in Asia as it tries to weather a slump in trading and deal-making. 

In April, Nomura cut around 30 jobs in its Asia ex-Japan equities business as the Japanese bank scaled back its overseas operations after years of losses.

Barclays pulled out of the Asian cash equities business in January while Standard Chartered decided last year to shut down its loss-making global equities businesses, resulting in about 200 job cuts.

There is also widespread speculation in the market that more investment banks will probably be forced to deepen their cost cuts and reallocate resources to growth markets such as Chinese domestic markets.

Amid these tougher conditions, a handful of senior bankers are switching their focus from deal-making to capital management.

Dominique Jooris left Goldman Sachs in April, where he was the Hong Kong-based head of credit capital markets for Asia ex-Japan. Jooris will head Pictet Group's private banking arm in Singapore effective from July 11, the Swiss firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, William Fung, a former UBS debt syndicate banker, joined Hong Kong-based financial firm AMTD as a fund manager in March.

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