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JPMorgan sharpening axe for investment banking cuts

Chopping block

The warning sounded loudly last week when trading volumes were calculated for the month of May. Market volatility was essentially non-existent – job cuts were inevitable. Morgan Stanley waited no longer than a few days, cutting an unknown number of rates and currency traders. The next move, it appears, will be JPMorgan’s.

Speaking at an investor conference on Wednesday, JPMorgan CFO Marianne Lake suggested that both compensation and headcount would be reduced within its investment bank pending a quick return of trading volumes – something that isn’t likely to happen in the near future.

Lake affirmed the bank’s earlier prediction that fixed income trading revenues would likely fall around 20% during the second quarter. “Compensation will come down,” Lake said, according to Bloomberg. “Then in the longer term, the question is whether we will have too much capacity.”

JPMorgan is facing more than one problem in fixed income. Not only is revenue falling – as it is at most every other bank – JPMorgan is also losing market share in FICC. That fell from a very healthy 18.6% in 2013 to 15.4% in the first quarter.

Goldman Sachs, on the other hand, has suggested that it may actually be winning market share, despite that being “tough to see.” President Gary Cohn said that Goldman is winning more higher-margin trades than competitors, so, when volatility returns, Goldman’s revenues should increase at a faster pace. Or maybe that’s just his theory.

Wirehouse or Insurer? (eFinancialCareers)

Feelings are a bit mixed when it comes to how life insurers are viewed by money managers and those who recruit them.

The Perils of Equity Research (eFinancialCareers)

“There’s little incentive to write in-depth research. It really does feel like factory nowadays, rather than a creative, intellectual role.”

‘Conflict of Interest’ (Investment News)

John Rogers, the chief executive officer of the CFA Institute who was scheduled to step down in August, left his post last week. He was reportedly having a relationship with a senior staff member.

AIG’s New Chief (Dealbook)

AIG has named Peter Hancock, the head of its property casualty business, as the company’s next CEO. Hancock will replace outgoing Chief Executive Robert Benmosche when he steps down in September.

New Comp Plan at Morgan Stanley (Bloomberg)

Morgan Stanley is cutting compensation for brokers as it looks to improve its return on equity. The bank is rewarding brokers who build their book of business, or, put another way, taking away from those happy with their current book.

Firing Squad Aiming at BNP (WSJ)

U.S. prosecutors are calling for another head to roll at BNP Paribas. They’re pushing the French bank to fire Vivien Levy-Garboua, current advisor and former head of compliance and internal controls for North America. The government is pressuring the bank to fire more than a dozen people after it disregarded U.S. sanctions.

Bigger is Better (Bloomberg)

It still pays to work for one of the big boys. In London for example, bankers at large firms receive bonuses that are 37% greater than those who work at smaller banks.

Buzz Around the Office

If the Spanx Fit, Wear Them (Business Insider)

How far will M&A bankers go to lock up an IPO? In 2007, roughly 75 UBS bankers squeezed in to Lululemon gear and took part in a flash mob yoga session at Central Park, then presented a photograph of the event as part of their pitch. They were later named as one of the deal’s underwriters.

Quote of the Day: “It was stunning. Eric Cantor in my view was a sensible politician who devoted himself to public service. I hope it doesn’t mean that it will be impossible from this point forward to compromise on issues like the budget, immigration policy. This is not necessarily a good signal but we’ll have to see how this plays out.” – Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein on Cantor’s primary loss

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