Two foreign banking companies with a presence in the United States confirmed layoffs on this side of the Atlantic Tuesday.
Dutch banking giant ABN Amro Holding NV said it is laying off 300 people in its U.S. corporate and investment banking division, part of a plan to cut 500 jobs in its equities business worldwide.
The layoffs in the United States will be mainly in New York and will eliminate overlap created by the company's acquisition of the North American investment banking units of its Dutch competitor ING Group, said Martin Winn, a spokesman for ABN Amro. On Monday it closed its $275 million transaction for the prime brokerage, corporate finance, domestic equities, and futures and options businesses operated by ING Barings in North America.
The layoffs began last week. Once they are complete ABN Amro will employ about 3,500 in U.S. corporate and investment banking.
In addition, Deutsche Bank AG of Frankfurt said that it is cutting 180 jobs in its Jersey City-based National Discount Brokers Group, the stock trading operation it bought last year. "In order to keep our competitive position in the market, we've undergone a restructuring and rightsizing at NDB affecting 180 people," a Deutsche Bank spokesman said. It is unclear exactly where the cuts will be made, he said.
A person familiar with Deutsche Bank said the layoffs are fueled partly by the overlap that resulted from last year's integration of National Discount Brokers, but the source added that the current volatility in capital markets also contributed.
Several other financial services companies that staffed up to deal with retail investors' hunger for online trading have also announced layoffs in recent months. Charles Schwab Corp., the nation's biggest discount brokerage, is reducing its work force by 13%, and CSFBdirect and Ameritrade Holdings have cut jobs.
ABN Amro's cuts in the United States are "related entirely" to the purchase of the ING Barings businesses, said Mr. Winn.
However, other investment banks here have fired thousands in an effort to weather market volatility. Last week Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. said that it plans to cut 1,500 jobs in its securities and asset management divisions because of weak market conditions.
Mr. Winn said that ABN Amro is cutting 200 jobs overseas as part of the continuing reconfiguration of its business, including a reduction of investment banking sector coverage in markets it deems minor, such as South Africa and parts of Asia.
The latest cuts come on top of 2,000 back-office layoffs in wholesale banking that the company announced in February as part of a restructuring of the division.
ABN Amro, which employs 100,000 worldwide, has also announced big layoffs close to home. In February it said 6,000 jobs would be cut in its retail banking division in the Netherlands.