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"Tears in the foyer" - the sorry scenes at Nomura

UBS 2012 springs to mind, or maybe Lehman Brothers 2008. Nomura's 100+ 2019 layoffs may not be quite as extreme as on either of those occasions, but there nonetheless appear to have been some 'scenes' at the Japanese bank's London office in Angel Lane yesterday.

"It was a bloodbath," says one managing director (MD), who kept his job. "There were about 20 people in the lobby at one time, all being delivered boxes of their belongings by assistants and then ushered out by security. There were tears, with people who'd been with the bank for over ten years not being allowed to return to their desks and being sent downstairs directly."

Deutsche Bank aside, it's normal practice for banks to remove traders the moment they're informed they're at risk of redundancy. - The security risk of allowing disgruntled staff to access trading systems is deemed simply too high. In this sense, Nomura's fast-tracking of unwanted employees out the door is not that surprising. And it could have been worse: at UBS in 2012, employees first discovered they'd lost their jobs when their passes wouldn't work; most spent the rest of the day commiserating in local pubs.

While "bloodbath" seems to be a popular descriptor for Angel Court yesterday, not everyone at Nomura felt emotional about what went down. "It's always the same: some people cry, some people are happy, some people put a brave face on," said one MD who said everything seemed calm.

A director at the bank said Nomura seemed to have chosen the staff it cut carefully, although a few recently hired people appeared to have gone. One insider said juniors on his team were protected. Another said juniors had gone and that, "This will make our lives more difficult in future."

Some survivors expressed slight envy of those who lost their jobs. "At least they get the summer off and a redundancy payment," said one. Nomura has yet to pay its bonuses, and when they arrive next month they're expected to be even more disappointing than last year. "Most of us are expecting not much at all," said the director.

Nomura declined to comment.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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