JPMorgan said to join BofA in eliminating mortgage traders

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., the two biggest U.S. banks, are cutting senior mortgage traders and salesmen amid a decline in the asset-backed securities market, people with knowledge of the moves said.

Raphael Gonzalez, JPMorgan’s co-head of trading in subprime mortgages, and John Angelica, a securitized-products salesman, resigned from the New York-based bank within the past four weeks in exchange for severance packages that included all their deferred stock awards, said the people, who declined to be identified because the terms are private. Roy Kim, who traded adjustable-rate mortgages, left on his own accord with a similar exit deal, the people said.

JPMorgan and Bank of America, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, are re-evaluating staffing on mortgage-trading desks amid pressure to cut expenses and stricter capital requirements tied to the assets. Some employees were offered severance packages allowing them to keep millions of dollars of deferred stock that otherwise may have been forfeited, the people said.

“When you start doing something like this, you’re making a forward statement about the mortgage-backed security market -- they are saying it isn’t going to be as active,” said Brad Hintz, an analyst covering banks at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. “Firms are right-sizing for the fixed-income market of the future. We’ll probably be seeing this in a lot of other Wall Street businesses as the regulations become clear.”

Trading Decline

Trading in securitized products at the 10 biggest global investment banks dropped to roughly $10 billion last year from about $17.5 billion in 2010, according to data from consultant Coalition Ltd.

The three JPMorgan executives left amid involuntary reductions in the past four weeks in the bank’s securitized-products division, which trades and sells mortgage bonds, derivatives and other asset-backed securities, according to two of the people with knowledge of the matter. Jennifer Zuccarelli, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, said she couldn’t comment on the departures, as did Gonzalez and Angelica. Contact information for Kim couldn’t immediately be located.

The bank also dismissed about 5% of its equities traders and salesmen yesterday and cut about 100 employees in its treasury and securities services unit in January, according to three different people with knowledge of those moves.

Bank of America eliminated at least half a dozen mortgage traders and salesmen this week. That included John McNiff, a managing director who served as co-head of commercial mortgage securities trading, said people with knowledge of the moves.

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