ING - the Dutch bank which rescued Barings after the Nick Leeson scandal - said yesterday that not all 200 equity derivatives staff would lose their jobs. The bank declined to give further details of the number of the jobs at risk, although a source said "the majority" of the employees would probably be let go over the coming months.
The decision to close the emerging markets equity derivatives division follows a three-month strategic review, according to a memorandum distributed to staff on Tuesday.
ING Barings is not withdrawing completely from the equity derivatives business - it will continue to run an operation out of Amsterdam.
In the staff memo, Arjun Mathrani, ING Barings' chief executive, tried to reassure staff that the group was committed to corporate and investment banking, saying recent concerns had been "unfounded".
It had been rumoured ING Barings was considering pulling out of investment banking altogether, and tension within the bank was heightened after cuts in the bank's Latin American and Asian divisions last month.
The latest cuts reflects the group's decision to focus on Western Europe and the US. ING Barings is to restructure its business into three divisions: equities/investment banking; treasury; and emerging markets, high-yield debt and derivatives.
Jeremy Palmer will head up the equities/investment banking division. Richie Prager and Jose Berenguer will be co-heads of emerging markets, high-yield debt and derivatives and Ted de Vries will head up the treasury division.