(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Barclays plans to slash its investment banking headcount in Asia by at least 15 percent in line with the industry's purge of staff globally.

Barclays confirmed to IBTimes UK that the bank is axing staff in Asia to conform with its overall plan to slash total headcount under its "Transform Review".

A Barclays spokesperson told IBTimes UK that "we have begun a process of consultation with UK based employees and a similar exercise in Asia. This exercise is being carried out so that we can start to effect some of the strategic changes as a consequence of the Transform review of Barclays business, the outcomes of which will be announced on the 12th of February.

"Transform is explicitly intended to optimise the entire Barclays business and to accelerate our already strong performance. The changes planned for the investment bank are wholly consistent with that intent."

While the spokesperson declined to outline the exact number of jobs that are under threat in the UK and Asia across the investment banking units, sources close to the bank told IBTimes UK that "hundreds could be cut."

"Staff at every investment banking unit in the UK is being reviewed, however that being said, every year, employees go through the same process where you get given your performance grades, have a review meeting with your manager and every year some people leave," says a source to IBTimes UK.

A report from Bloomberg citing unnamed sources estimated that 70 jobs would be lost in Barclays' Asian investment banking operations.

Another source familiar with Barclays' banking practices told IBTimes UK that "Barclays has always had a high turnaround of staff, whether from people leaving or from being axed. It's not a surprise."

In the UK, the securities unit employs about 9,000 people and about 24,000 globally.

Barclays shares fell modestly in London trading Thursday, declining 0.2 percent to 295.2 pence each, largely in line with the broader FTSE 100.

Last week IBTimes UK revealed that Barclays is considering slashing and axing bonuses for its investment banking staff in order to offset the record fine and legal costs it paid for its role in the Libor manipulation scandal.

A source close to Barclays told IBTimes UK that investment banking staff were told that their bonuses were to be "very, very small" or cut completely for 2012, in order to pay for the fines and litigation costs related to Libor.

Investment Banking Shedding Jobs Globally

Barclays is the latest in a line of banks looking to cull its global headcount.

This week, Lloyds Banking Group revealed it was axing 940 jobs, bringing the total amount cut to more than 31,000 since 2009.

As part of its plan to save £1.5bn, the job losses are spread across a number of operations, including insurance, retail, wealth and international and commercial divisions.

Meanwhile in Asia-Pacific, Morgan Stanley is also trimming its investment banking headcount by 55 to 60 positions, according to a number of media reports.

A benchmark survey published today by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Confederation of British Industry says that Britain's biggest financial firms are growing increasingly concerned that staff shortages could hurt their chances of capitalising on a business rebound in the coming year.

Financial services firms are more optimistic about a pick-up in business than they have been since the global financial crisis, but are worried that staffing constraints after years of headcount reductions could limit their potential to grow.