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Once mighty trading capital falling on hard times

Sad banker

A few years ago, Stamford, Connecticut was one of the best cities in which to work if you were a trader. Home to UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland’s U.S. trading hubs, Stamford housed thousands of high-paying banking jobs that didn’t come with all the hassle and cost of working in New York City. Not often can traders work five minutes from the office while still having a big back yard.

Fast-forward to today and the scene is much different. The city and its surrounding towns are still beautiful, but the bulk of the jobs are now gone. In the near future, there may be no traders at all who call Stanford home.

The Greenwich Times is reporting that the UBS building in Stamford is officially on the market. The Swiss bank’s trading hub once employed 4,200 people, but headcount there has reportedly fallen to just more than 2,000 – a very important number. The bank is required to employ north of 2,000 people until the end of 2016 or pay back a $20 million forgivable loan, plus interest.

The owners of the property have hired a brokerage firm to “evaluate all of their options,” although they told the paper that it is “distinct to whatever UBS is doing.”

Either way, the writing appears on the wall. Even if UBS continues to employ more than 2,000 people through 2016 – something Governor Dan Malloy has publicly questioned – Stamford doesn’t appear a long-term home for UBS and what is left of its trading staff. Reports have indicated that the bank has been using the facility to house back office employees as it has cut so many traders.

Its neighbor, RBS, has been doing the same, cutting hundreds of traders this year as the industry has been struck by strict regulations and a surge in electronic trading.

The culling of bank employees in the area has gotten so bad it has adversely affected local businesses that rely on the wealthy individuals in the area. Several high-end restaurants have told us that business gets worse with every round of cuts.

Soon, there may be no one else to cut.

Why J.P. Morgan Bankers Want to Move (eFinancialCareers)

JPMorgan is reportedly considering moving its New York headquarters from its posh Park Avenue location to the West Side. Moving would present New York employees with several pros and cons.

Credit Suisse Hiring, Paying Well (eFinancialCareers)

Credit Suisse’s current investment banking staff will be pleased to hear that pay is up. Credit Suisse’s would-be investment banking staff will also be pleased to hear that the bank might be doing some hiring.

EU Banks Get Some Relief (WSJ)

Here’s some good news for those working at European banks. The industry will need to come up with $12.6 billion to fill capital holes, which actually isn’t all that much. That likely means stock price (and equity) increases and a waning need to cut assets (and people).

Bank Stocks To Own (WSJ)

Meanwhile, if you are getting paid in deferred shares at a U.S. bank, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Keycorp are good banks to work for. Analysts believe those bank stocks have the most upside.

Who’s Leading Whom? (Matt Levine)

Hedge funds anticipate analyst expectations, according to a new study. Mutual funds react to analyst expectations. This data inspires two questions: are analysts tipping their picks to hedge funds, or do they just share similar thinking? And why, if they are quicker to the punch, have hedge funds stunk lately? Maybe it’s the analysts’ fault.

Stanford Goes Solo On Appeal (CNBC)

Convicted Ponzi scheme artist Allen Stanford is appealing his 110-year jail sentence, which isn’t really news. He’s appealed several times. The interest in this occurrence is that he is representing himself, despite having no legal background. During his 170-page filling, Stanford references an 1865 dispute over bank deposits. Should be a fun argument.

Sexual Harassment Charges at HSBC (Dealbreaker)

Here are some pretty aggressive sexual harassment charges aimed at a former HSBC vice president. The suit includes allegations that she told subordinates to dress provocatively at work and even sleep with HSBC executives and clients.

Buzz Around the Office

Bradley Pitts (ABC News)

Comedian Zach Galifianakis had Brad Pitt on his online talk show, “Between Two Ferns.” Watch it and laugh.

Quote of the Day: “Tell me what it was like, the first time you laid eyes on Angelina. Was it like what one of those classical love stories like when Ross met Rachel?” – Zach Galifianakis to Brad Pitt

Comments (1)

Comments
  1. Rather to the point, UBS has transferred most of it’s traders back to New York City….

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