As Deutsche Bank's U.S. equities professionals await their fates following last week's revelation that the entire equities business is being "scrutinized by the board" amidst claims from J.P. Morgan that costs at DB U.S. equities exceed revenues by a ratio of 5:4, they can perhaps take solace in the fact that they are not alone. Deutsche isn't the only one trimming its U.S. equities business: there are others too.
Berenberg Capital Markets, for example, is understood to have let go of Brett Smith, an equities sales trader whom it hired from Morgan Stanley in 2016. The German bank confirmed Smith's departure.
Wells Fargo Securities is also said to have quietly parted company with some New York-based staff in cash equities and program trading. Insiders said the bank has over 60 analysts in the U.S. intends to cut them down to 50 or fewer. The bank declined to comment specifically on the exits, but said, "Wells Fargo periodically reviews and adjusts staffing levels to better serve clients as part of the normal course of business." More broadly, the exits are understood to have included Brian Riddle, an MD on the capital finance team.
The trickle of staff out of Wall Street equities desks comes even though most U.S. banks had an exceptional first quarter. - At Citi, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, for example, equities sales and trading revenues rose 38% year-on-year in the first three months of 2018.
Credit Suisse, Barclays, Citi, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs all made major hires to their equities businesses globally in 2017, although recruitment now seems to have slowed as they wait for results.
One senior U.S. equities salesman who's looking for work in NYC said there's, "not much going on," in terms of equities hiring right now and that managers are "waiting to see how the year evolves." Despite the strong first quarter, banking analysts at Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman are predicting a 5-10% decline in equities revenues globally this year as MiFID II hits revenues in EMEA and rising rates push real money investors towards fixed income products.
Despite letting go of Smith, Berenberg said it's still hiring. "We will grow in NYC and in general," said a spokesman.
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