The logo of Morgan Stanley is seen in New York 

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

As Wall Street’s slump in IPOs and mergers deepens this year, top advisory firms including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup have turned to job cuts in recent weeks.

Morgan Stanley plans to eliminate roughly 3,000 positions by the end of June, according to a person with knowledge of the plans.

That equates to roughly 5% of the New York-based bank’s workforce when excluding the financial advisors and support staff who will be spared in the cuts, the person said. The layoffs are expected to impact banking and trading staff the most, according to Bloomberg, which reported the moves earlier.

A historic boom in deals ignited by the pandemic was followed by a bust that began last year after the Federal Reserve started raising rates to hit the brakes on an overheating economy. The IPOs, debt issuance and mergers that feed Wall Street have all remain muted this year. For instance, IPO volumes are 74% lower than last year, according to Dealogic data.

For Morgan Stanley, the cuts show that Wall Street is wrangling with expenses as the slump drags on for longer than expected. The bank already cut about 2% of its workforce in December, CNBC reported.

Rising costs, falling revenue

Last month, analysts criticized Morgan Stanley for posting higher first-quarter costs while revenue declined. Expenses in the firm’s investment bank and wealth management division hurt profit margins in particular.

The bank’s moves aren’t isolated. The industry’s job cuts began in September, when Goldman Sachs reinstated a practice of culling those it perceives to be low performers. Nearly all the major Wall Street firms followed, and Goldman itself had to resort to another, deeper round of layoffs in January.

In recent weeks, big bank peers including Citigroup and Bank of America have cut a few hundred jobs each, relatively surgical cuts that should position the banks well when a rebound in deals finally arrives.

Last week, top boutique advisor Lazard said it planned to cut 10% of its workforce this year. The step was necessitated by restrained capital markets activity and wage inflation that pumped up salaries across banking.

“Candidly, things are not feeling as good as they were in December or January,” Chief Executive Ken Jacobs told Bloomberg.

Wall Street layoffs will be selective but broad-based, according to sources, says Hugh Son


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