RHB Cap embarks on career transition scheme


Retrenchment drive: Pedestrians walk under the RHB logo in Kuala Lumpur. RHB Cap is set to be second financial institution in Malaysia to launch a retrenchment scheme

Bank is set to be second financial institution to launch plan

PETALING JAYA: The country’s fourth-largest lender RHB Capital Bhd (RHB Cap) has embarked on a career transition scheme (CTS), which will be voluntarily in nature.

RHB Banking Group said there was no definitive target on the number of staff that it will be releasing under the CTS.

“RHB’s primary focus is to strengthen our fundamentals, improve our productivity and optimise our manpower in order to remain relevant, competitive and resilient,” it said in a statement.

Maybank Investment Bank Research (Maybank IB) said that RHB Cap was set to be the second financial institution in Malaysia to launch a retrenchment drive this year to rationalise costs.

RHB Capital’s compensation scheme was estimated to be 1.25 times basic salary, according to the report. RHB Cap has total staff strength of 18,000, it said.

“RHB Cap’s move follows in the footsteps of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, which recently saw the rationalisation of 11.1% of its total workforce via a mutual separation scheme (MSS),” Maybank IB said.

Using CIMB’s benchmarks, the research firm said RHB Cap was expected to incur an MSS cost of about RM332mil, while savings could be about RM219mil per year from then on. This would theoretically bolster RHB Cap’s earnings for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2016, by about 8%.

To recap, CIMB’s MSS scheme involved a total of 3,599 personnel, of which 1,891 were in Malaysia and 1,708 in Indonesia. The scheme cost RM443mil, but the expected savings from the headcount reduction was RM292mil per annum.

“That RHB Cap needs to rationalise costs is evident in that its cost-to-income ratio (CIR) of 55.5% in the first half of 2015 was high, compared with the industry average of 49%,” Maybank IB explained, pointing to the fact that the group’s management had previously set a near-term CIR target of less than 51%.

Maybank IB said it would project a higher CIR of 57% for RHB Cap for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2016.

“So, ceteris paribus, the cost savings from the CTS would take the ratio down to about 53%,” it said.

Maybank IB said that it would maintain its “hold” recommendation on RHB Cap, with an unchanged target price of RM7 based on a price-to-book value of one times on its post-rights book value of equity per share.

“We estimate a 1.3 percentage-point enhancement in the group’s 2016 return on equity to 9.5% post-rights,” Maybank IB expl;ained.

RHB Cap’s earnings for the first half of the year came in flat at RM1bil on the back of a 10% increase in group’s revenue to RM5.339bil from RM4.854bil a year ago.

Its shares closed 1.44% lower to RM6.16 yesterday.

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