CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. (CIMB), Malaysia’s second-biggest lender, plans to keep the majority of the 150 Australia-based staff currently employed in the divisions of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc that it seeks to acquire.
The Malaysian lender will eventually rebrand the RBS unit after it integrates the businesses, which include cash equities, equity capital markets, mergers and acquisitions advisory and corporate finance, Randolph Clinton, RBS’s head of equities for Australia, said today in a phone interview from Sydney. He declined to comment on how many jobs would be lost in the units that CIMB isn’t buying.
“CIMB does not have operations here, so there is no overlap,” Clinton said. “We will take the lion’s share of the people across with us.”
CIMB Chief Executive Officer Nazir Razak is seeking to build a pan-Asian financial-services provider after being Malaysia’s top underwriter for equity and rights offerings in the past three years. The Kuala Lumpur-based lender, which has made acquisitions in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia in the past seven years, this week said fourth-quarter profit surged 30 percent to a record on increased lending in Asia.
RBS has cut more than 30,000 jobs since receiving the world’s biggest banking bailout from the U.K. government. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester last month posted a wider-than- estimated loss of 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) for 2011 and is shrinking the bank’s balance sheet by selling assets abroad. RBS said last month it plans to move its Australian fixed-income and currency trading business to Singapore and London.
Among senior RBS staff planning to join CIMB are Simon Perrott, chairman of the investment banking group, and Nicholas Rowe, managing director of investment banking, Clinton said. The two banks signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday, according to a filing to the Malaysian stock exchange.
The RBS units together employ as many as 600 workers across the Asia-Pacific region, three people familiar with the talks said yesterday.
It was too early to speculate on employee numbers at the remaining RBS businesses in Australia, Sydney-based spokeswoman Jill Valentine said. Those units include debt capital markets, fixed income sales and trading and equity derivatives, she said.
“We know what RBS Australia will look like going forward so we will now go through a process to ensure we are appropriately resourced,” Valentine said in an e-mail.
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