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Bakers scraps 46 City business services staff roles, more at risk

Baker McKenzie is the latest firm to scale down its London business support staff in favour of low-cost centres, scrapping at least 46 City roles and leaving another 33 at risk.

The move comes eight months after the firm launched a review of its London professional and business services (PBS) staff, estimated to include 350 people.

After 97 of those roles were identified as at risk, 15 people were made redundant and a further 31 were moved to different roles within the firm.  A further 18 people had previously resigned, with a spokesperson for the firm saying many of them were replaced without specifying how many.

The firm said in a statement that 33 people remain in roles at risk. The firm is seeking alternative positions for them and offering redundancy packages to those where there are not.

A spokesperson added: ‘The ongoing review in London is part of the firm’s three-year global reorganisation of our PBS functions, which includes the creation of new roles, growth in our service centres and investments in new technologies and new services. We are grateful to our people in London and globally for their engagement, professionalism and patience throughout this process to date. We continue to work with those still in roles at risk and in cases where suitable alternative roles are unavailable will offer an enhanced redundancy package.’

Shortly after launching the review of its London PBS staff in October last year, the firm announced the launch of a low-cost hub in Florida, which will be operational by 2020 and create more than 300 roles, followed by another in Buenos Aires in March this year, expected to employ 200 people.

A number of other firms have put their City support roles under review amid a move towards low cost centres.

Taylor Wessing announced in January it was considering making 13% of its 270-strong City team redundant by the end of 2020 as it looked to create 35 new business services roles in its Liverpool base. Last July, Ashurst slashed 54 of its 100-strong secretarial team and Ince & Co announced 32 redundancies, including 25 business services staff and seven fee earners.

Hogan Lovells also cut 54 of around 500 business services roles in June, moving most of them to low-cost hubs in Birmingham, Johannesburg and Louisville.