Dow Jones

NEW YORK - Chase Manhattan Corp. and J.P. Morgan & Co. are laying off professionals in their emerging markets division in Latin America as the banking companies look to cut as many as 5,000 jobs before their pending merger. Chase has fired professionals from its loan syndication desks in Latin America, and both companies have scaled back in Brazil and Argentina.

One Chase employee in New York said the reality of the planned merger began to hit home last week when four emerging markets professionals were fired.

Sal Kahn, a headhunter at Dynamics Associates in New York, said he just took on three candidates from J.P. Morgan's equity research team, one of whom worked on the Latin American derivatives desk.

Meanwhile, Jorge Jasson, former head of Chase's international fixed-income division, and Miguel Gutierrez, former co-head of J.P. Morgan's Latin American region, have been tapped to co-head the emerging markets division at the combined company once the $33 billion deal closes. Closing is expected this month.

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