Lehman Brothers has shut down its asset management operations in Australia, with staff being handed redundancy notices yesterday afternoon.

It is understood the shutdown does not affect the former Grange Securities business but only the buy-side business, which is predominantly run out of Melbourne under chief executive Paul O’Halloran. Telephone lines to the Melbourne office appeared to have been cut off yesterday afternoon. Sydney-based head of distribution Mark Jackson, who joined what was then known as Grange Asset Management less than a year ago, after being retrenched from RCM’s closed Australian equities business, could not be reached for comment. Equity Trustees (EQT) was responsible entity for Lehman Brothers Asset Management’s flagship High Income Fund, which combined its capabilities in corporate debt, hybrid securities, asset-backed securities, CDOs and property securities. EQT’s head of funds management, Harvey Kalman, was unavailable for comment. It is understood that BNP Paribas Securities Services had just won the admin/custody contract for Lehman Brothers-managed trusts in Australia, which until recently the American firm had been vowing to aggressively expand. Bloomberg reported over the weekend that Lehman Brothers, the fourth-biggest US securities firm by market value, would begin a new round of job cuts on May 19 with plans to shed 5 per cent of its 28,000-strong global workforce, according to what the news agency described as “;a person briefed on the matter”;.

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