MSCI to cut 70-80 jobs as it absorbs RiskMetrics

First round of restructuring announced.

Index firm MSCI says it plans to cut around 70-80 jobs in the first round of a restructuring as it absorbs its £1.55bn acquisition of risk management and environmental social and governance (ESG) research firm RiskMetrics.

The move – announced in a regulatory filing – aims to eliminate overlapping jobs, office space and vendor contracts. Also part of the plan will be the discontinuation of the planned integration of an unnamed product into RiskMetrics’ “standard product offering suite”. It gave no geographical location for the job cuts.

The cuts are a step towards the cost synergies MSCI referred to at the time of the acquisition in March this year. At the time, MSCI Chief Executive Henry Fernandez identified $50m of cost synergies resulting from the deal.MSCI said today that the first round of cuts “is expected to impact approximately 70 to 80 employees” in areas such as research and development and general and administrative.

Some staff were notified from June 1 and the company expects to notify all other staff affected “by this first round” by the end of August. MSCI will incur severance related expenses of up to $6m.

There will be a second round of the restructuring plan expected to be complete by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Responsible Investor has already reported on the departure of high-profile executives from the combined entity. Former Norges Bank Investment Management Chief Executive, Knut Kjaer, left his role as RiskMetrics president after the deal.