Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. is planning to cut about half of its 150-strong workforce at its securities business in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Japan’s biggest bank will focus the reductions on sales and trading, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. A final decision may come as soon as Wednesday, they said.
MUFG follows firms including Nomura Holdings Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG in paring trading jobs. Chief Executive Officer Kanetsugu Mike said in May that the bank’s global sales and trading business has been struggling and needs reviewing.
“We constantly review our business in all markets in which we have a presence to ensure we remain competitive and relevant to clients,” a Tokyo-based MUFG representative said. “We do not comment on individual cases.” The Financial Times reported the impending cuts at the Asian securities operation last week.
MUFG moved its Hong Kong rates trading desk functions to London earlier this year, saying it wasn’t cost-efficient to operate in the Asian city while trading the same products in Tokyo. The bank is also paring jobs in London, however, saying in July that it plans to cut 50 managerial positions in the city.
In Japan, Tokyo-based MUFG conducts its securities business through joint ventures with Morgan Stanley.
Japanese banks have been facing pressure on profits stemming from the nation’s rock-bottom interest rates and shrinking population. While that has forced cost cuts, it has also prompted the lenders to expand in areas with greater growth prospects abroad.
MUFG this year completed the purchase of PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, and it has also bought stakes in lenders in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines in recent years. This year it agreed to buy German lender DZ Bank’s aviation finance division including a loan portfolio of €5.6 billion ($6.2 billion).