Ernst & Young, the international accounting firm, has become a casualty of the financial markets downturn, unveiling 200 staff cuts in the UK, including some members of the corporate finance division.
Ernst & Young said that it was being directly hit by the rapid decline in world economic activity. "In light of this, we have taken immediate action to bring our headcount in line with realistic growth expectations for this year," the firm said.
A chunk of the redundancies will come from the corporate finance division in London, which has been hit by the downturn in mergers and acquisitions activity. It is understood that as many as 20 people in the division could lose their jobs.
Other redundancies will come from Ernst & Young's operations in the central and southern UK regions and from its industrial and commercial office.
This is the first time the firm has had to lay off staff since the financial markets went into turmoil. Staff at all levels will be hit by the cuts.
Exact decisions about who will go will be made shortly, and Ernst & Young said it would be consulting with the individuals concerned over the next 30 days. Ernst & Young said it hoped the cuts would be sufficient to position the firm well for the next nine months or so.