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The banks aiming to beat the equities blues

Equities is a business where only the top handful of banks traditionally make money. It is also a sector with shrinking volumes and revenues. So why are two banks outside the top tier – Citi and HSBC – trying to boost their franchises?




Change in the equities world is coming – and coming in the most disruptive fashion since the advent of electronic trading in the 1990s. 

With a shrinking overall wallet size, growing volumes and falling fees, the entrance of non-bank players, onerous new regulations on research provision and the introduction of new infrastructure for trading in Europe, the equity market is going through a period of intense change. 

As a result, almost all of the banks involved in the market have been making big adjustments to their business models: investing heavily in technology and changing their client and regional focus. 

In a 2016 study, Oliver Wyman, in conjunction with Morgan Stanley, estimated that from 2009 through 2015, the top equities banks took in about $5 billion of economic profit every year after cost of capital.

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