BNP Paribas to cut investment bank staff in France, UK and Luxembourg

PARIS, March 21 (Reuters) - France’s BNP Paribas plans to cut investment banking staff in France, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg by the end of 2018, although staffing levels at the business should remain stable in Europe overall, it said in its annual report.

Many European banks from HSBC to Deutsche Bank are cutting costs to boost profitability, with mounting compliance and regulatory pressures weighing on higher risk activities such as investment banking.

In Europe, BNP Paribas’ corporate and institutional banking (CIB) workforce should remain stable up to the end of 2018, France’s largest bank said, as it hires in lower cost countries, such as Poland, Portugal and Spain.

“In France, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg, reductions in employment levels are planned,” the bank added, citing a presentation made to its European Works Council in May and November 2016.

BNP Paribas added in the report that its overall headcount rose to 192,419 by the end of 2016 from 189,077 a year earlier.

The bank said that the number of employees overseeing internal control rose 47 percent to 9,786, as banks around the world beef up their compliance departments to meet onerous regulatory demands aimed at fighting financial fraud. BNP planned to cut its investment banking staff in Britain by around 5 percent in 2016, according to a source familiar with the matter. (Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva, editing by Louise Heavens)