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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 14:56 GMT
Merrill Lynch cuts 9,000 jobs
Merrill Lynch logo
The US brokerage giant Merrill Lynch has said it has taken a $2.2bn charge to cover restructuring measures which have included the shedding of nearly 9,000 jobs during the last few months.

We are moving aggressively to make Merrill Lynch leaner, more competitive, more focused than ever

David Komansky, chief executive
Last year Merrill invited all its 65,000 staff to volunteer for redundancy as it sought to reduce costs.

Of the posts cut, about 2,500 have been through voluntary redundancies, and Merrill said the majority of the remaining job cuts have come through divested businesses.

Merrill said most of the intended job cuts have already been made, and by the end of 2001 it employed about 57,000 people.

Profits at the investment giant have been hit by the US recession and the downturn in stock prices. Last October it posted its worst quarterly profits since 1998.

"Based on a detailed review of all our businesses over the past three months, and our current market outlook, we are moving aggressively to make Merrill Lynch leaner, more competitive, more focused than ever on serving clients in our chosen markets around the world," David Komansky, chairman and chief executive, and Stan O'Neal, president and chief operating officer, said in a joint statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, Merrill Lynch's Japanese securities division announced it was cutting 1,200 jobs and closing 20 of its 28 offices in the country. These job cuts were included in the 9,000 figure.

Stock reliance

Merrill is not alone in suffering in the present economic climate, but was more reliant than other firms on stock trading.

The fall in share prices over the past year has led investors to shun equities in favour of safer havens for their cash.

Profits have also been hit by the downturn in merger and acquisition activity between firms.

Merrill said revenues also suffered from disruption to business caused by the 11 September terror attacks, and the move of some of its operations back into the World Financial Center next to where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

But it said its reorganisation would produce annual savings of about $1.4bn.

"This will position us to be more profitable, and to take maximum advantage of the long-term trends that continue to drive strong growth in financial services globally," the company said.

See also:

23 Oct 01 | Business
Merrill offers redundancy plan
17 Oct 01 | Business
Banks blame attacks for profits woes
16 Jul 01 | Business
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