JF Asset Management is the latest fund house to reduce staff in Asia, as part of cost-cutting measures in reaction to the global financial crisis. JF Asset Management is part of JPMorgan Asset Management, which in turn is part of J.P. Morgan Chase. JPMorgan Asset Management has more than $1.2 trillion in assets under management worldwide.

A spokesman at JF Asset Management declined to say how many people in Asia have been affected by the recent job cuts and which particular positions and groups have been involved. In relation to the global staff reduction at the fund house, however, the spokesman says the numbers are not substantial.

ôJPMorgan, including JF Asset Management, is making staff reductions across all businesses across all regions, Asia-Pacific included,ö the spokesman says. ôThe key positions in Asia are not affected and the number of job cuts should be relatively minimal, in relation to the global numbers.ö

Founded and headquartered in Hong Kong, JF Asset Management has one of the largest investment teams in the region. The fund house had around 1,600 staff in Asia û about one-third of which are based in Hong Kong û before the job cuts. JF Asset ManagementÆs Hong Kong-based CEO for Asia, David Hsu, oversees the fund houseÆs operations in the region.

The spokesman declines to say if further job cuts are planned.

ôGiven the challenging environment, no industry has been harder hit than the financial services industry,ö the spokesman says, adding that the recent move is in reaction to the impact of the global financial crisis and looming economic recession.

Fund houses that have reduced staff in Asia include BlackRock, Fidelity International, ING Investment Management, Janus Capital and AllianceBernstein. The job cuts in fund houses in Asia have not been as drastic as layoffs in the US and Europe, however.

The job cuts are in reaction to shrinking assets under management (AUM) in Asia and uncertain growth prospects in the coming year. The fund houses have said, however, that they expect to rebuild their businesses accordingly depending on future market conditions.

AUM numbers have been dipping fast in the past few months due mainly to lower portfolio valuations and partly to redemptions. Mutual fund assets under management in Asia ex-Japan fell by 12% to $991 billion in the first half of 2008 from $1.126 trillion at end-2007, according to Boston-based financial services research firm Cerulli Associates. By the end of this year, AUM could be down 20% to $915 billion.