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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Merrill offers redundancy plan
Merrill Lynch, London
Merrill Lynch employs about 8,000 people in London
Merrill Lynch has invited all its 65,000 staff to volunteer for redundancy or take a sabbatical, amidst rumours that the investment bank wants to slash 10,000 jobs.

The voluntary scheme is expected to be a precursor to a forced redundancy scheme.

"The near-term environment remains extremely weak, leading to overcapacity throughout the industry," said chief executive David Komansky, insisting that the cuts are aimed at boosting profit margins.

Merrill is offering between 12 and 54 weeks' salary as severance pay to staff who are prepared to leave of their own free will.

But there are no guarantees that everyone will get what they want.

"This is always a dilemma, whether to put your name forward, get rejected, and no longer be seen as a Merrill man. Or whether to wait and get made redundant on less favourable terms," said one banker.

Across the board

Merrill employs about 8,000 people in its London office which is its headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The offer was sent out by e-mail to everyone from secretaries to traders, brokers and analysts in all the countries where Merrill operates.

Responses should be made within two weeks, a spokesman said.

The e-mail was sent out after the company's profits more than halved in the third quarter of 2001 compared with last year.

Merrill would not be specific about how many jobs are on the line.

Bert Ely, banking expert
"There has been a tremendous drop-off in investment banking activity"
See also:

15 Oct 01 | Business
Commerzbank sheds 3,400 jobs
09 Oct 01 | Business
Struggling CSFB cuts 2,000 jobs
03 Sep 01 | Business
City slashes jobs and pay
13 Aug 01 | Business
Slump 'has cost 25,000 bank jobs'
12 Apr 01 | Business
City fights redundancy fears
01 Apr 01 | Business
20,000 City jobs to go
04 Apr 01 | Business
Stock falls hit Wall Street jobs
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