CSFB six MDs lighter, Goldman also cuts

A round of senior level cuts has begun.

One has to say the timing is not ideal. Imagine you organize a conference around the biggest sporting event in Hong Kong - of which you are the exclusive sponsor - and New York tells you to fire a bunch of your most senior people in the same week.

Dubbed the 'week of the long knives' by some rival bankers, news of CSFB's managing director cull was rampant in the boxes at the Sevens.

Initial rumours put the cuts at 12 managing directors, with word quickly getting out that head of investment banking, Neil Harvey was to go - taking a leave of absence. Harvey had been in the region for less than a year.

It also became apparent that the existing MD running China would go, to be replaced by new hire Wei Christianson from Morgan Stanley, while M&A would cease to have a separate boss. MD Gordon Paterson had already left for Salomon, while M&A head, Jeremy Mead was cut just days before the Sevens began.

M&A will now report into Eric Varvel, the new head of investment banking.

The technology group may also be rolled more into the fold with rumours of senior departures there also.

Original rumours of 12 MDs being cut may have been exaggerated, however. The true number may be closer to six. However, rival bankers say this could still lead to cost savings of at least $15 million, given the expense of the expat packages and overall compensation structure for MDs.

Nevertheless, many of the bankers won't leave till the Summer, and are being given time to put their affairs in order.

Meanwhile, over at Goldman at least two MDs will leave the region, with Michiel Bakker moving from Singapore to London. The true depth of Goldman's cuts is yet to emerge. However, news is breaking that the investment banking team in Singapore is being cut from around 14 to six.

The other house rumoured to be cutting is JPMorgan which has 370 in its investment banking division.