Job Cuts Loom at European Banks as Economy Pinches Fees

Job Cuts Loom at European Banks as Economy Pinches Fees

European banks, which eliminated more than 140,000 jobs in two years, are poised to keep shrinking.

Lenders in the region probably will cut at least 5 percent of trading and advisory staff next year, according to a survey of three London-based investment-bank recruiters, and the reductions could reach 15 percent, two of them said. That would be twice the 7 percent shrinkage across the industry since 2011.

European firms are lagging behind U.S. counterparts in meeting stricter limits on leverage, putting pressure on them to cut assets. At the same time, a stagnant economy is crimping fees from investment banking and merger advice, eroding returns. That may force banks to eliminate more jobs next year, dispose of whole businesses and surrender market share in fixed income.

“As European banks focus on leverage, they’re losing market share to U.S. firms,” said Philippe Bodereau, the London-based head of European credit research at Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s largest fixed-income manager. “We’re seeing a lot of banks that are starting to cut balance sheets. Cost control will remain a big item.”

Banks in Europe with global securities businesses, including Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc, posted a 13 percent drop in third-quarter investment-banking revenue, hurt by lower fixed-income trading, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That exceeded a 9 percent decline at the largest U.S. firms.

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