RBS makes heavy cuts in Asia equities division

The bank has made major lay-offs in institutional and retail equity sales and structuring in the region, amid whispers it plans to shut its equities and corporate finance units globally.
RBS makes heavy cuts in Asia equities division

Amid reports that the UK’s RBS will cut 4,000 staff in investment banking globally, the equities division in Asia is seeing deep cuts across Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, including a raft of institutional salespeople and structurers.

Most of the dismissals took place close to the end of last year. But some were more recent: Lalita Raman, director of equity derivatives hedge fund sales in Hong Kong, exited earlier this month, having been with RBS since 2009.

Other departures in Hong Kong include Terry Tsang, director of equity derivatives and structured retail sales (who covered warrants and equity-linked investments), and Angus Hui, a warrants marketer.

Cici Bian, director of senior structured product sales for Greater China, has left the bank, along with Joe Chiu, another equity salesperson in Hong Kong. Bian moved to RBS in mid-2010 from Merrill Lynch, where she had held a similar role.

It is not only salespeople and structurers who have moved on; Hong Kong-based volatility trader Ben Malka is another casualty, for example.

Meanwhile, in Singapore the departures include Ramesh Vijayaraghavan, co-head of Asian hedge fund sales and institutional equity derivatives sales, and Vincent Tay, director of equity derivatives and private investor product sales.

Vijayaraghavan had been with RBS since August 2009 and had previously worked for Morgan Stanley in Singapore. Tay arrived in August 2006, before which he was a product manager for fixed income and structured products at Citi in Singapore.

The Tokyo office has also seen cuts, including Hiroyuki Ogawa, head of equity structuring and custom indices for Japan; Shihoko Inokuma, who covered equity derivatives sales; and Joe Lin, vice-president in equity derivatives structuring.

Ogawa had been with the bank since April 2006, before which he held equity structured product sales roles with BNP Paribas and Lehman Brothers and had also worked as a fixed-income derivatives trader at the Sanwa Bank.

Reports suggest people familiar with the situation have said RBS plans to close its equities and corporate finance units globally. More certainty is likely to come today when group CEO Stephen Hester makes an announcement about the future of the entire investment banking division.

When contacted for this story, RBS spokeswoman Yukmin Hui in Hong Kong said: “We do not comment on individual staff matters, whether current or former employees.”

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