Late Lunchtime Links: RBS is actually reducing investment banking headcount 50% from the peak; MF Global staff can get re-employed at Lloyds

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RBS’s job cuts may appear modest at the merest 3,500, but do not be deceived. Closer inspection reveals that the bank is actually reducing headcount 50% from its peak.

In June 2009, RBS employed 26,900 people. By June 2011, this had fallen to 19,000. RBS then announced 2,000 job cuts, before the additional 3,500 today. Ultimately, therefore, RBS will end up with 13,400 staff – a reduction of 50% from the peak.

RBS plans to eliminate the additional 3,500 staff over the next three years (maximum). This sounds quite sedate given that UBS dumped 30% of its investment bankers in a single year after 2008.

While all is doom at RBS, things may be looking up a little at Lloyds. Now that Antonio Horta-Osorio is back from his stress break, the bank is making amends for Nathan Bostock’s (possibly ill-fated decision) to stay at RBS instead of becoming head of Lloyds’ wholesale business.

Fishing about for some other big wholesale banking hires instead of Bostock, Lloyds has happened upon Richard Moore, formerly chief executive of MF Global in Europe. Reuters says Moore will report to Andrew Geczy, Lloyds' CEO of wholesale banking and markets. Lloyds has also hired Cris Kinrade, former head of derivatives funding, as head of counterparty exposure management and solutions.

In other news:

Stephen Hester: ““The world needs wholesale financial services.” (Sky)

Royal Bank of Scotland's balance sheet still as big as UK economy. (Guardian) 

Salmond rules out sharing exposure to RBS in the event of Scottish independence. (Financial Times) 

Investment banking was the only division that offered RBS any chance of generating the amount of profits needed to repay the cost of its bailout. (Telegraph)

For 2011 as a whole,London financial services job opportunities were down 8% on the previous year at 56,587, less than half the peak of 114,471 reached in 2007, says Morgan McKinley. (Financial Times) 

Liberum Capital has said it might want to buy Hoare Govett and George Osborne has said he, personally, would like to talk to management at RBS before it pays any bonuses. (The Times)

George Osborne: "I don't accept that the only way for the banks to absorb these costs is to increase the cost of lending. They could - shock horror - reduce their remuneration." (Telegraph) 

Banks globally have now cut 130,000 staff. (Guardian) 

David B. Heller and Edward K. Eisler, two of four co-heads of securities trading at Goldman Sachs Group, decided to retire. (Yahoo)  

Mr. Heller, 44 years old, and Mr. Eisler, 42, were among the youngest members of Goldman’s powerful management committee and had expressed disappointment to some colleagues that their highflying businesses had lost some luster. Mr. Heller was responsible for equities sales and trading, while Mr. Eisler led Goldman's fixed-income trading and sales in interest rates, foreign exchange and some derivatives. (WSJ) 

Isabelle Ealet, 48, the bank’s London-based global head of commodities since 2007, will become one of three co-heads of the securities division alongside Pablo J. Salame, 45, and Harvey M. Schwartz, 47. (Businessweek)

George Stein, managing director of Commodity Talent, a headhunter, said that Ms Ealet had run successfully “what is widely considered to be the best commodities unit on Wall Street”. Mr Stein said: “She’s getting a richly deserved promotion to the daunting task of handling trading in multiple asset classes on a global scale.” (Financial Times) 

Hong traders are protesting about their lunch break being cut to 2 hours to 90 minutes to 1 hour. (Bloomberg) 

Morgan Stanley has cut 10 fixed-income jobs, mainly in sales and trading, in Singapore and Hong Kong, including the co-head for fixed income sales in SE Asia. (Reuters) 

Headhunters in HK fear headcount in the region could shrink 20%: “This time it is different.Asiawas relatively untouched last time but not now.” (Financial Times)

Personnel turnover isn’t an issue at Brevan Howard, says Brevan Howard, and: “The years Alan does best are when others are doing poorly,” says a former Salomon colleague. “He’s extraordinarily competitive.” (Bloomberg) 

Time to position yourself in Renmibi trading. (BBC) 

A brand protection firm, has registered sites including and, for the group’s chief executive, Stephen Schwarzman. (Financial Times) 

A former equities broker in Dubai has set up a deli: “Business was getting too slow, and at some point you have to decide where time would be spent in a more valuable way.” (Bloomberg) 

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