Future uncertain for bear stearns' staff

By Rob Virtue on March 20, 2008 10:30 AM |

Bear Stearns’ plans to move to a state-of-the-art new building at Canary Wharf could be in doubt.

The company had hoped to double its workforce but now, staff face a very different future after the bank became a victim of the US credit crunch.

The 1,370 employees in Canary Wharf, based at One Canada Square are waiting for a JP Morgan take-over to be completed before seeing what this means to them.

“It’s all a little tense at present,? said one Bear Stearns worker. “No-one has a clue what to expect.?

Managers from JP Morgan, which paid just $2 a share for the troubled company at the weekend, were in meetings with their opposite numbers at Bear Stearns this week, trying to get to grips with the bank’s position.

A spokeswoman for Bear Stearns said: “The two companies are working together trying to get an idea of what the Bear Stearns business looks like and letting JP Morgan get to know the people. No decisions have yet been made.?

As well as staffing, another key issue the JP Morgan management will have to face is what to do with 5 Churchill Place.

The building, opposite State Street bank, is due to open next summer and Bear Stearns has signed a 20 year lease for about 65 per cent of the 300,000sq ft building space.

A spokeswoman for Canary Wharf Group said Bear Stearns name was on the lease and nothing had changed. “It’s business as usual and the construction is still going ahead as planned,? she said.

The Bear Stearns spokeswoman said that it has no plans to back out of filling the structure. “Nothing is on hold,? she said. “We’re in fact-finding mode and still operating as usual.?

But she added that the issue of 5 Churchill Place was a question that soon had to be faced by JP Morgan.
It has been reported the new owner of Bear Stearns has 12 months to decide whether it wants to sub-let the office space.

It has been an unsettling week for Bear Stearns staff. Many workers flocked out of the One Canada Square offices last Friday to mourn the bank.

Earlier that day staff had been told of liquidity problems, before rumour spread that JP Morgan was to buy it.

The deal was reached on Sunday (March 16) and while it secures the future of the bank, roles for current staff are far from certain.

rob.virtue@wharf.co.uk

3 Comments

justin said:

Fantastic news! we don't need more bankers, there's enough round here already

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Batty said:

Out of order.
It's us that keep canary wharf going. so get used to it justin............