eFC Briefing: Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong

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Lehman gears up for Middle East growth, but downsizes elsewhere. Credit Suisse relocates global FIG head to Hong Kong, and launches an onshore wealth management operation in India. Thomson Reuters merger said to cost 1,500 jobs. JPMorgan reportedly let go some 200 investment bankers due to market conditions, not the Bear Stearns takeover.


Lehman Brothers announced its second top-level Middle East appointment in a month, naming Philip Lynch as chief executive officer for the Middle East and North Africa. Lynch, who co-led Lehman's equities business in Europe and the Middle East, will relocate from London to Dubai. The other equities co-head, Rachid Bouzouba, was named sole head of equities for Europe and the Middle East. Current Middle East chief Jameel Akhrass becomes vice chairman for the Middle East and North Africa, but remains Middle East investment banking chief.

Meanwhile, media reports indicate Lehman has begun laying off an estimated 1,400 people, or about 5 percent of its worldwide work force. That's on top of a reported reduction of identical proportions in March. Among the few areas spared from the latest round are Asia, commodities capital markets and some emerging markets, according to the New York Sun.


In the latest relocation of an important banking leadership post to Asia, Credit Suisse is moving the head of its global financial institutions group from New York to Hong Kong. Vikram Gandhi will make the move this summer, FinanceAsia reports. "Global talent transfers are increasingly important for us to continue our momentum," the bank said in an internal memo cited by FinanceAsia. Gandhi joined Credit Suisse in 2005 as head of the global financial institutions group, after co-leading a similar unit within Morgan Stanley.

Separately, Credit Suisse says it hired Garry Bullock as head of global operations for its investment bank division. His immediate previous employer and role weren't identified, but he worked at Morgan Stanley and UBS over the past 22 years. At UBS, he was global head of investment bank operations and information technology, and worked in both North America and Europe.

Credit Suisse also recently launched a wealth management business in Mumbai, after obtaining portfolio manager and merchant banker licenses from Indian regulators and opening a brokerage operation in the country. Puneet Matta, head of wealth management for Credit Suisse in India, said the bank aims to become one of the top three players in the sector within three years. Additional offices are planned for New Delhi and Bangalore.


A revised economic analysis by New York City's Independent Budget Office forecasts the city's financial services job losses will total 33,300 from late 2007 through mid-2009, including 17,300 jobs in the more narrowly defined "securities" industry. The numbers are larger than those the agency released in an initial report just two months ago, although smaller than the total staff reductions already announced by Wall Street and big European banks, which exceed 60,000. The Independent Budget Office is forecasting "a local recession is imminent, if it has not begun already." It looks for the local economy to enter recovery in the second half of 2009.


Some 1,500 employees, or 3 percent of the worldwide work force, of newly merged Thomson Reuters Corp. are set to lose their jobs as a result of the combination, the Associated Press reports. A separate Reuters story says the casualties include 650 jobs in the content, technology and operations division, and 140 journalist positions, primarily in Europe.


JPMorgan has begun slashing as much as 20 percent of its investment banking work force, CNBC reports. The network says "at least 200 executives were laid off" last week, and calls these cuts unrelated to the JPMorgan's recent purchase of Bear Stearns. The steepest reductions, running as high as 50 percent of the department, reportedly fell within mergers and acquisitions.

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