MUFG mulls job cuts at brokerage business overseas

TOKYOMitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) is considering job cuts at its securities operations overseas to keep them profitable.

The brokerage arm of Japan’s biggest bank may reduce headcount in the UK and the US, reflecting market conditions, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co CEO Saburo Araki (picture) said, without giving details. The firm had 605 employees in Europe and 469 in the Americas as of March.

“We will slide into the red all too soon if we have a large headcount when the market is quiet,” Araki, 60, said in a recent interview in Tokyo. “We’re discussing which operations might be cut back and whether we should make some reductions in London and the Americas.”

Any overseas cuts would follow a period in which MUFG has steadily increased headcount at its securities arm in the US and Europe. Nomura Holdings Inc, Japan’s biggest brokerage, is also reviewing staff numbers in those markets to trim costs.

Mitsubishi UFJ Securities posted a 43% drop in pretax profit from overseas to ¥4.1 billion (RM164 million) in the three months ended March from a year earlier, due partly to a lack of volatility in European markets.

The firm’s securities business in Europe and the US centres on credit, rates, equities and structured products, according to its website. Last year, it chose Amsterdam as a base for its European Union operations once the UK leaves the bloc.

Nomura is cutting at least 50 positions in London, including senior traders, and more than two dozen sales and trading staff in the US, Bloomberg has reported. It cut hundreds of staff in Europe and the US two years ago in a bid to return to profit abroad.

Araki is also CEO of MUFG’s majority-owned Tokyo-based joint venture with Morgan Stanley. — Bloomberg