Equities bear brunt of Wall Street job cuts as volume drops

More Shrinkage

“It’s still an overbrokered industry and it will continue to shrink,” Alec Levine, an equity derivatives strategist at Newedge Group SA in New York, said in a Jan. 8 interview.

Equity volume is falling around the world. Average daily trading on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 11% last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Among companies in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, volume slumped 13% in the period, while it dropped 4.8% on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average in Japan. For companies listed on U.S. exchanges it fell 18%, the data show.

In 2011, bond divisions suffered the biggest job losses. The number of equity jobs worldwide fell 2.4%, while fixed income headcount contracted 7.4%, according to Coalition. The job index includes Barclays, Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS.

For Nomura, channeling all equity execution through Instinet saved money, John Adair, head of equities in Asia ex-Japan, and Glenn Lesko, chief executive officer of Instinet in Asia said in a press briefing on Sept. 27. Adair has since resigned, according to two people with knowledge of the situation and Norikazu Akedo is now the sole head of Asia- Pacific equities.

Changing Landscapes

The platforms will continue to evolve in coming months, Citigroup’s Boyle said, and will bring the need for employees with more diverse skills.

“The competitive landscape 18 months from now will be significantly different than it is today and I think we are well positioned,” Boyle said.

“Job functions have changed over the past year and interactions have become much more holistic. We’re training people on different things,” he said. “Sales people are becoming more product literate and traders are developing client relationships.”

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