UPDATE 1-Barclays investment bank cuts jobs and products, mostly in Asia

jueves 21 de enero de 2016 07:05 GYT

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LONDON, Jan 21 (IFR) - Barclays is to exit cash equities in Asia and cut about 1,000 investment bank staff as its new chief executive Jes Staley tries to improve profitability in the business by slashing costs, a person familiar with the matter said.

The cuts were announced to staff on Thursday, and most will be in Asia, the person said. Barclays has already cut about 7,000 staff in its investment bank in the last three years, reducing the unit's headcount to about 17,000.

Tom King, head of investment banking for Barclays, said the bank was "sharpening our focus on the geographies and products where we have a clear competitive advantage" in a memo to staff, seen by IFR.

Barclays is increasingly focusing its investment bank on its two "home" markets of Britain and the US, notably the financial centres of London and New York.

Its retreat echoes cutbacks at several European rivals, including Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, and follows a long struggle for many to make profits in Asia.

It also reflects difficult market conditions for investment banks as tougher regulations hurt profitability.

Indeed, Deutsche Bank said late on Wednesday it would make a loss of 6.7bn in 2015, partly due to difficult trading conditions and restructuring charges. Its shares slumped 7 percent in early trading on Thursday.

Barclays shares were up 0.6 percent. Its latest move continues the British bank's retreat from Asia, where it will keep a physical presence only in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Singapore.   Continuación...