By Takashi Umekawa and Takaya Yamaguchi
TOKYO (Reuters) - The brokerage arm of top Japanese lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group <8306.T> will cut about half of its staff in Asia outside of Japan in a restructuring to be finalised as early as Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter said.
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities staff in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia will be cut to fewer than 100 people from around 180 now, two people said, declining to be identified because the information has not been made public.
Sales and trading will be heavily impacted, while debt capital markets will remain largely intact, they said.
The businesses in Asia are separate from the Mitsubishi UFJ's Japan-based joint ventures with Morgan Stanley <MS.N>.
Executives will finalise the decision at a management meeting as early as Wednesday, the people said.
"From the perspective of enhancing our competitiveness, we constantly consider making our business more efficient globally," a Mitsubishi UFJ spokesman said. "But there is nothing particular finalised at this moment."
Like some of its rivals, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities has struggled with difficult market conditions. Net profit at the business tumbled 91% in the three months to June 30.
The headcount reduction in Asia contrasts with recent expansion by the group's banking arm, MUFG Bank Ltd. It has invested in PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk <BDMN.JK>, Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya Pcl <BAY.BK>, Security Bank Corp <SECB.PS> of the Philippines, and Vietnam-based VietinBank.
Another group unit, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking, acquired asset management operations of Australia's Commonwealth Bank of Australia <CBA.AX> for about 300 billion yen (2.24 billion pounds) in August.
(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa and Takaya Yamaguchi; editing by David Dolan and Jason Neely)