US high-frequency trader KCG said to cut 100 jobs; shut offices in Singapore, Mumbai

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - American high-frequency trading group KCG Holdings, which rival Virtu Financial is buying for more than US$1.3 billion, is eliminating 10 per cent of its staff and shutting offices in Singapore and Mumbai, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company also will also stop trading currencies for clients and withdraw almost entirely from making markets in European exchange-traded funds, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. KCG will cut about 100 jobs by the end of this week, the person said. Sophie Sohn, a spokeswoman for New York-based KCG, declined to comment.

More cuts could be coming. Its planned acquirer, Virtu, has only one-sixth as many employees, relying more heavily on automation.

"We have a leaner firm in terms of people," Virtu chief executive officer Doug Cifu said on Bloomberg TV when the takeover was announced in April. "They have a lot more people than we do. We will look at that."

The current round of job cuts, which began last week in Asia, were initiated by KCG management, the person familiar with the matter said.

KCG, hurt by diminished volatility in markets, has slashed employees ever since the company's 2013 birth via the merger of high-speed trader Getco and brokerage Knight Capital Group. Headcount peaked at 1,229 three years ago before dwindling to 923 at the end of March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.