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Legg Mason to Cut Finance Jobs in Boston

Posted on May 16, 2010

Fund firm Legg Mason has adjusted the figure it previously gave when addressing layoff numbers and is now saying they will eliminate more than 350 finance jobs in Boston (click here).

According to Reuters.com, on Monday it said it would cut about 10 percent of its workforce, or 350 jobs, as part of a long-awaited restructuring designed to eventually reduce expenses by up to $150 million annually.

But on a conference call Thursday, Chief Administrative Officer Joseph Sullivan said Legg Mason may make additional job cuts through voluntary terminations and other steps.

The fund firm continues to face outflows from its funds and questions from analysts about how quickly it can benefit from cost cuts.

Legg Mason shares were up 1.3 pct to $34.62 in late-morning trade on Thursday after rising more than 10 percent Tuesday following the initial news of the planned job cuts.

The company plans to close an office in Owings Mills, a Baltimore suburb, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. Just under half of the 400 employees there will be laid off, with the rest transferred to the company’s headquarters in Baltimore. The layoffs are part of the job cuts announced Monday.

Thursday’s conference call covered some of the same ground the firm covered on Monday, when Chief Executive Mark Fetting described changes that would shift many functions to Legg Mason’s affiliated investment companies.

On the call, Legg Mason’s well known stockpicker Bill Miller said he has seen some investors begin to bring back money they withdrew from his funds at the peak of the financial crisis. He said those returning included a large pension fund and several sovereign wealth funds, but he did not name them.

Miller is chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management.