M. Stanley Asia prime broker head leaves-source

CNBC – The head of Morgan Stanley’s prime brokerage arm in Asia, Kurt Baker, has left the firm amid the slump in Asia’s hedge fund industry, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. A spokesman for the U.S. bank declined to comment. But the source confirmed Baker was no longer coming into the office.

His departure comes after Morgan Stanley last week announced a further round of job cuts, including 10 percent of staff in its institutional securities unit, its main business, and 9 percent in asset management. The cuts are in addition to roughly 4,800 jobs eliminated since the middle of 2007 by what was once Wall Street’s second-largest investment bank.More than 100,000 financial services jobs have been eliminated worldwide over that time.

Morgan Co-President James Gorman said at the time the firm plans to "reshape" operations including prime brokerage, which lends securities and provides other services to hedge funds. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc were widely regarded as the two leading prime brokerages in Asia in recent years. But industry sources said hedge fund clients moved assets from the firms in the wake of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy, which raised questions about the stability of investment banks.

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