DBS eliminates a dozen jobs at brokerage as trading slumps

DBS Bank in Singapore.
DBS Bank in Singapore. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - DBS Group Holdings cut at least 12 roles across Asia at its brokerage unit, the latest bank to shrink its trading desk as volumes slump.

DBS Vickers Securities is rationalizing its institutional business unit as it seeks to be "more competitive and responsive to market changes," the brokerage arm of Southeast Asia's largest lender said in an e-mailed response to questions. Affected employees will be offered opportunities to be redeployed within the bank, according to the brokerage.

"We continuously look at ways to enhance effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, including reviewing our systems and processes, as well as staffing levels," DBS Vickers said.

The move comes amid difficult trading conditions in Asia that have hurt revenues at brokerages. Firms including BNP Paribas, Nomura Holdings and Macquarie Group have trimmed their Asian equities businesses this year in reaction to the slump.

DBS in October reported third-quarter profit of S$1.07 billion, little changed from the year-ago period.

The average daily value of shares traded in Singapore fell to S$1.06 billion this year, a 24 per cent decline from 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. There were 3,401 stockbrokers in the city-state at the end of October, compared with 4,336 in 2011, according to data from Singapore Exchange, which operates the local stock market. The exchange has rolled out training courses in attempts to help brokers cope.

In Hong Kong, average daily securities turnover fell 34 per cent to HK$67.8 billion ($8.7 billion) in the three months ended September, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

DBS shares have risen 6.5 per cent in Singapore this year, outpacing the 1.5 per cent increase on the benchmark Straits Times Index. The stock rose 1.4 per cent to S$17.80 as of 10:28 a.m. local time Thursday.

DBS Vickers has offices in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the U.S. and U.K., according to its website. Chief executive officer Piyush Gupta said in February the bank would slow hiring. During the throes of the 2008 credit crunch, the firm cut 900 jobs, 6 per cent of its then-workforce.