The lacklustre markets have claimed more victims, as CIMB laid off a dozen staff from its broking business in Singapore a week ago.
The bank confirmed that the retrenched employees mostly came from back-end support functions. Half of them were contract staff. There were no retrenchments in the banking business. "Similar to our industry peers, we are not spared from the harsh realities of the deteriorating capital markets," a spokesperson for the bank told The Business Times.
"We need to adjust to the realities of today's market conditions and we are continually looking at ways to reduce costs through streamlining of our broking operations. The decision to reduce headcount even though the number is small is never easy but necessary to ensure we remain nimble and robust to weather the continued headwinds."
CIMB's move came amid a dull period for the Singapore equity market. Average daily turnover on the Singapore Exchange was S$1.14 billion in the first five months of 2016, down 4 per cent from the S$1.19 billion average a year earlier.
It was also reported in March that CIMB was in talks to potentially sell at least part of its brokerage in Singapore to a Chinese broking house.
CIMB group chief executive Zafrul Aziz said in January that the group was not going to cut jobs in Malaysia and Indonesia in 2016. About 3,000 employees left under a group voluntary retrenchment scheme. As at January, CIMB had also released about 32 staff from its cash equities and investment banking divisions in Hong Kong.
In Singapore, layoffs have been on the rise amid a slowing economic growth in Singapore. Official statistics recorded 14,400 redundancies in 2015, up from 12,930 in 2014. In the January-to-March quarter of 2016, redundancies increased to 4,600 from a year-ago 3,500.
In the financial sector, Standard Chartered chief executive Judy Hsu said in May that cuts announced last year by the bank's headquarters have mostly been made, and any further reduction in headcount in Singapore will be by natural attrition.
This article was first published on June 16, 2016.
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