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Merrill Lynch Top Guys Resign

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Telegraph link, may not work

Two of Merrill Lynch's most senior bankers have left the firm in the wake of the US sub-prime housing crisis and the subsequent downturn in the global credit markets.

The sub-prime crisis in full

Osman Semerci, global head of the bank's fixed income, currencies and commodities business, and Dale Lattanzio, head of the division's US operations, have left the US bank.


One insider said: "They're top quality bankers, but they are carrying the can for the problems in the investment bank." The bank confirmed the departures and said Mr Semerci would be replaced by David Sobotka, who was previously head of global commodities.

Merrill is due to report its third-quarter figures in October and speculation has been rife that the bank could take a massive hit from losses on sub-prime investments and leveraged loans.

Goldman Sachs analyst William Tanona said Merrill would have to write down fixed-income assets by as much as $4bn, resulting in the lowest quarterly earnings in nearly six years.

The fixed income division has been the bank's main profit driver in recent years, making 43pc of the investment bank's total revenues in 2006. The division made $8.1bn last year, up a third on 2005.

Merrill instigated job cuts at its First Franklin sub-prime mortgage unit in mid-September. The investment bank would not say how many of the subsidiary's 2,600 employees would be affected.

Mr Semerci's former boss, Dow Kim, who left the bank in May to set up his own investment firm, was responsible for pushing through the $1.3bn (£640m) acquisition of First Franklin in September 2006.

Headhunters say the move left Mr Semerci without one of his closest allies at the bank. Mr Semerci's departure could be a sign he has been forced to take responsibility for problems in the investment bank, said observers. They said he was regarded at Merrill as a top trader, unafraid to take tough decisions.

One source said: "As head of Merrill's most profitable division, Osman was under the spotlight. Unfortunately it was also the division most exposed to a credit downturn."

Mr Semerci ran the key group since July 2006. Previously based in the UK, the new job meant he split his time between London and New York.

The departures are the latest in what headhunters expect to be a series of job losses across the investment banking sector as losses from the sub-prime crisis continue to emerge.

On Monday, UBS said it would axe 1,500 jobs and make $3.7bn of losses. Among those to leave the Swiss bank was Huw Jenkins, chief executive of the investment bank. Morgan Stanley followed suit on Tuesday when it said it would make 600 staff redundant in its global mortgage business.

Oh dear.

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Guest KingCharles1st

1500 + 600 = 2,100 investmenty type people losing their jobs


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lets face it- it won't make a jot of difference-

HPI to continue

GB to get re-elected

NR - storm in a T-cup

credit crunch to sort itself out

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