People in exchange for profits?

BlackRock is set to get rid of 2.5% of its workforce, around 500 people, to balance out rocky markets. Is this going to be the trend for this year?

It marks the first set of layoffs carried out by BlackRock since 2019, leaving the total number of employees at the firm approximately 5% more than the figure a year back.

Until the end of November last year, the company’s headcount stood at around 19,900 people.

In a memo seen by the news agency, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and president Rob Kapito said: “The uncertainty around us makes it more important than ever that we stay ahead of changes in the market and focus on delivering for our clients.”

This isn’t even the first story about layoffs in the industry in 2023. We’re barely two weeks in and Goldman Sachs has announced 3,000 layoffs.

The bank’s plan to reduce the size of its investment banking division is triggered by the growing number of non-front-office positions in recent times.

Furthermore, RBC is retreating from Guernsey over the next two years. This leaves 89 employees’ futures up in the air.

In a statement, RBC Wealth Management said it had been a “difficult decision”.

RBC Wealth Management added that the company “is committed to ensuring that employees are kept well-informed and treated fairly and respectfully as the firm closes its activity.”

The latest development comes after the £1.6bn takeover of Brewin Dolphin by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in September last year.

Guernsey Committee for Economic Development president Neil Inder was quoted by BBC as saying that it was “disappointing to lose such a well-established company.”

However, he was “assured this is very much a business decision to centralise its operations.”

The talent pool is already shrinking in private banking and firms are desperate to find the right level of talent. With sackings for savings becoming an early trend in 2023, why would anyone want to move into banking? This needs to be solved sooner rather than later or the sector will be left direly behind while BigTech sweeps it all up.

Patrick Brusnahan, editor