Bank of America cuts 20 staff in Asia, China-focused bankers affected most- sources

By Kane Wu and Selena Li

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Bank of America on Tuesday announced job cuts of around 20 bankers in Asia, three sources with knowledge of the matter said, as plunging markets in China and Hong Kong weighed on deal prospects.

The majority of the bankers affected are Hong Kong-based and worked on China deals, two of the sources and a fourth person with knowledge of the matter said.

Some cuts were also made in other Asian markets, the sources said, without providing further details.

The U.S. bank has become the first large global bank to downsize its regional investment banking operation in 2024, after a wave of layoffs across the industry in 2023 as a weaker China recovery and rising geopolitical tensions drove away foreign investors.

Winnie Ng, the bank’s head of Hong Kong coverage and co-head of APAC Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging, and Jessica Li, head of Asia Healthcare, were among the senior bankers who were part of the 20 cuts, according to two of the sources.

Ng did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Li could not be reached for comment.

All of the sources declined to be named as the information is confidential.

A Bank of America spokesperson declined to comment

The layoffs come as China and Hong Kong’s stock markets touched their lowest in years in recent weeks, which took its toll on deal prospects for investment banks, sources said.

The gloomy outlook contrasts with that of the U.S. market, where the Bank of America reported a pickup in dealmaking in the fourth quarter, which pushed up investment banking fees by 7% to $1.1 billion.

(Reporting by Selena Li, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu in Hong Kong, Editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)