City redundancies are sent via text message at 4am

DOZENS of bankers might have wished for a seasonal lump of coal for Christmas yesterday: instead they received a handy text message telling them that their job no longer exists.

Investec laid off 90 of its front-office staff before dawn, with those who had opted into the text alert system receiving an SMS at 4.30am so as to save themselves the train journey to Gresham Street, where they would have had to simply clear their desks and go home.

The move follows Investec’s acquisition of smaller rival Evolution Group for £220m, which the bank had warned would involve some lay-offs as it was primarily interested in Williams de Broë, Evo’s wealth management business.

It left the combined entity with 160 staff. Sixty of the 90 jobs cut fell on Evo bankers, with compensation packages dependent on how long each person had worked at the firm. Investec declined to say what the one-off cost of the move was.

It is understood that the FTSE 250 bank, led by Stephen Koseff, was hoping to lay off its staff much earlier rather than leave it until five days before Christmas, but was delayed by legal issues relating to the filing of the necessary paperwork for its acquisition.

After that, it also faced a week’s delay due to the Financial Services Authority, said a source.

Meanwhile, Canadian financial services firm Canaccord has seen its share price plunge 17 per cent since announcing its £254m acquisition of Collins Stewart Hawkpoint, the broker and investment bank.

The deal, which Canaccord signed after losing out on buying Evo, is at a 90 per cent premium to Collin Stewart’s price and is also likely to involve job cuts.