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People walk past an office of the Royal Bank of Scotland in London on Jan. 26, 2017.

Alastair Grant/The Canadian Press

Royal Bank of Scotland has begun a major restructuring in its overseas investment banking operations, cutting almost a quarter of full-time staff in the United States, two sources with knowledge of the plan told Reuters.

The taxpayer-backed lender is looking to cut between 80-90 jobs at its U.S. head office in Stamford, Connecticut, following consultation with various employee unions and representatives, one of the sources said.

The second source said the layoffs in the United States, where it employs 400 people, were the first in a broader plan to cut between 20-30 per cent of NatWest Markets’ non-U.K. workforce, with an undisclosed number of redundancies also being considered across Asia.

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At least eight bankers based in Singapore were laid off on Wednesday, the second source said, with redundancies in Hong Kong also seen likely.

“In line with the multi-year process announced in February, we continue to progress our plan to refocus NatWest Markets on activities which directly support the bank’s core customers and on areas where we will have a more stable and consistent revenue stream,” a spokeswoman for NatWest Markets said.

“These are always difficult decisions, but we intend to make NWM a more sustainable business and will be supporting our colleagues through this process,” she added.

The roles affected include economists, rates traders and credit traders, one of the sources said.

Earlier this month, RBS named Robert Begbie as chief executive of NatWest Markets, confirming a role he had held on an interim basis since December.

Begbie faces a tough task to revive RBS’s investment banking operations, where returns and market share have underwhelmed investors, prompting some to call for a cull of the business.

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