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Inside JPMorgan’s Asian job cuts

JP Morgan has become the latest big bank to cut jobs in the Asia-Pacific region, but unlike rivals it has kept redundancies to a minimum.

The US bank is understood to have made around 30 people redundant, and sources say many of the reductions affecting China-focused staff based in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

But while Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have both cut senior bankers, JP Morgan’s cost-reduction exercise has focused on more junior staff.

Two sources said that the job cuts have affected staff in equity capital markets, as well as industry groups focused on ‘new economy’ sectors such as healthcare, and technology, media and telecoms, which have borne the brunt of the fall in deal activity.

The bank wouldn’t comment on the seniority of those most affected, or in which areas of the business the cuts had come, but a spokesperson said: “We regularly review our business needs and a small number of employees across Asia Pacific have been affected.”

JPMorgan fell two places to sixth in international China investment banking fee tables last year, while Goldman was second and Morgan Stanley was fourth, according to Dealogic. It was ranked fourth overall in APAC. 

Bankers say that more cuts could come depending on whether deal activity returns in the first quarter but suggested that any reductions would be more in line with JPMorgan’s low-key approach. One banker at a European firm said:  “I don’t think you’ll see Goldman-style cuts, where they fired 40 China bankers.  It will be on a much-smaller scale because China remains a long-term commitment for US banks.”

Rising Sino-US tensions over Taiwan and Beijing’s refusal to condemn Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine, have fuelled fears that US banks may retrench, but bank bosses are hopeful of an upturn in deal-flow now that China has relaxed its Covid restrictions

In January, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told Fox News that he does not see U.S. banks pulling out of China in the near future, saying the U.S. government sets foreign policy and American business wants to compete, "so we want to make sure whatever trade negotiations are advantageous to American business."

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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