Barclays to reduce office space in Tokyo

TOKYO • Barclays will reduce office space at its loss-making Japanese brokerage unit to trim expenses after cutting jobs earlier this year.

The UK bank, which rents two floors of the Mori Tower in the Roppongi Hills office complex, will vacate about half of the 31st floor as early as this year while keeping its space on the 32nd, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as the plan is private.

Barclays asked about 100 people from equities in Tokyo to leave earlier this year as part of a fresh round of cuts across Asia, people familiar with the situation said at the time. The equity division is located on the 32nd floor.

"This consolidation of office space is the logical consequence of that earlier decision," Barclays said in an e- mailed statement.

"We have had a significant presence in Japan for close to 50 years, and our new, sharper focus ensures that we will be an even stronger player in the Japanese market in the years ahead," the bank said, without giving further details.

Chief executive officer Jes Staley has pared the scope of the London-based firm's investment banking business to bolster profitability, which has been hampered by misconduct fines, lower trading revenue and higher regulatory costs.

Barclays Securities Japan posted a loss of 8.6 billion yen (S$116 million) for the year ended March 31, widening from 2.9 billion yen a year earlier, according to its latest earnings disclosure. It had 503 employees, down from 588 a year earlier, the filing showed.

Roppongi Hills, once a popular location for investment banks, has become better known for its information technology companies, with Google and Apple among the firms at Mori Tower.

Meanwhile, several securities firms are relocating their Tokyo operations. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities finished moving its 2,300 employees in July to a new building, said the brokerage's spokesman Hiroaki Konishi.

Citigroup plans to move its Japan headquarters in the second half of next year, while Nomura Research Institute will move its headquarters in December.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Barclays to reduce office space in Tokyo'. Print Edition | Subscribe