Pity the poor stock trader.
Those working in the equities divisions at Wall Street banks have had a pretty rough time lately. Revenue from equities divisions at the top Wall Street banks dropped 13% in 2016 from a year before, according to figures from analytics firm Coalition. Headcount fell by 4% across the industry, and is now down 17% from 2011 to about 18,200 people.
Now, a big annual report from Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman suggests that is still too many stock traders. The two said in their annual blue paper on the state of the finance industry that “structural challenges are particularly acute in the equities business,” and that some mid-tier firms “may need a more profound restructuring of the business.”
In other words, expect more job cuts. Here’s the relevant extract:
“Structural challenges are particularly acute in the equities business, pressuring mid-tier players. Changes in client behaviour and the growing role of electronic trading have knocked ~$US15BN off equi-
ties fee pools compared to the forecast our model suggests based on historical drivers. Scale and capital deployed in prime and derivatives books matter more than ever in driving attractive returns, whereas index performance matters less. Cash equities platforms face pressures over the next 1-2 years as the proposed unbundling of research and execution commissions under MiFID 2 comes into force. Fund managers are likely to drive down research commissions and consolidate spend amongst fewer providers, shaking out smaller players. The impact on execution commissions could be even more profound. The leading 3-4 equities players will look to press their advantage, and technology-driven execution specialists look set to benefit in particular. Mid-tier full service firms will be pressured. Some may need a more profound restructuring of the business to drive out cost and re-focus around accretive and genuinely strategic areas.”
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