Goldman led all foreign banks in domestic job-cutting blitz

Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. led major foreign banks in Japan in accelerating job cuts last fiscal year as employees relocated to other Asian financial centers and firms trimmed costs to cope with a worldwide industry slump.

The number of staff at nine global banks in Japan fell by 537, or 7.3 percent, to a combined 6,796 as of March 31, more than double the previous year’s 3.2 percent reduction, according to company filings with the Financial Services Agency.

Wall Street and European banks are eliminating jobs and transferring staff from Japan to Hong Kong and Singapore to reduce expenses as the European sovereign debt crisis dents global investor confidence. The yen touched a postwar high of 75.35 against the dollar in October, increasing costs for overseas banks and their foreign staff.

Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, according to ECA International’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey conducted in March. Singapore is 32nd and Hong Kong 36th.

Equity underwriting in Japan suffered last year as companies shunned fundraising after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that left 19,000 people dead or missing and caused the Fukushima nuclear meltdown disaster. Public offerings fell to ¥1.2 trillion in the year that ended in March from ¥4 trillion a year earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Goldman Sachs reduced its Japan headcount by 14 percent to 847, the biggest cut of all the banks, according to the New York-based firm’s disclosure emailed to Bloomberg News. Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-biggest lender, pared its Japan workforce by 8.6 percent to 540. Deutsche Bank AG reduced 7.9 percent of its staff to 834 and BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, cut 7.4 percent to 462.