Warburg sacks four

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The Independent Online
JAMES BETHELL

The contrasting fortunes of staff at S G Warburg, the investment bank taken over by Swiss Bank Corp, continued yesterday with the redundancies of four senior market makers and the award of retention bonuses to key staff.

The redundancies are the latest casualties in a merging process which are rumoured will cost as many as 2,000 jobs among Warburg's 4,700 investment banking staff and SBC's 1,400 London staff.

The news heightened anxiety among staff, who have been told to expect a clear outline of management intentions on Monday, the first official day of trading for the merged SBC-Warburg operation.

"Everyone is feeling very jittery as details of the merger fail to materialise, even though it is meant to be completed on Sunday," said an insider. "Although everyone can see the potential for a combined group, it is impossible not to be worried by the lack of certainty."

Managers are expected to launch a charm offensive at the beginning of next week during which they will reassure staff that the number of redundancies contemplated by Marcel Ospel, SBC's head of international and financial operations, will be significantly fewer than rumoured figures.

"There will be some redundancies but the signs coming from senior management seem to suggest that they will much smaller than previously expected," said a source at the Swiss bank.

The retention bonuses offered to certain equity traders, which are said to amount to a year's advance of bonus paid in 12 months' time, are the first application of the remuneration policy outlined by Mr Ospel last month designed to persuade selected personnel to retain their jobs.

The moves follow the announcement earlier this year by Warburg that bonuses were due to be slashed after the company plunged into a pounds 31.6m operating loss.

Staff at Warburg are being targeted by headhunters working for Morgan Grenfell, the investment banking arm of Deutsche bank.

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