Bankers facing big job loss rise 'by Christmas'

TENS of thousands of European bankers are losing their jobs in a deep trading slump that has been compounded by regulatory curbs on excessive risk, and many more will be out of work before Christmas.

Switzerland's Credit Suisse, which weathered the financial crisis better than most peers, announced 2,000 job cuts yesterday, while some financial recruiters forecast thousands more job losses by next March.

"The eye of the storm has passed. But there's still the back of the storm," said Jason Kennedy, who runs recruitment agency Kennedy Associates. "Some people think the last quarter (of this year] will save them. But the way the market is, I don't believe anything is going to change. The US is getting deeper into trouble, Europe is in the doldrums - there's no good news out there."

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Changes in pay structures - with banks ramping up fixed salaries to compensate for pressure to cut bonuses - have given them less flexibility when hard times bite. The regulatory crackdown is also prompting banks to streamline and exit businesses.

After grim second quarter trading, the current quarter is being warily watched for signs of recovery, but recent guidance has not been promising.

"Based on current performances, I'd expect more cuts before Christmas," said Jonathan Nicholson, managing director at London-based recruitment firm Astbury Marsden.