| NEW YORK, Sept 21
NEW YORK, Sept 21 Liquidnet, an all-electronic
stock broker, said it laid off more than 30 employees at its New
York headquarters last week, just under 15 percent of its
The New York-based company is the latest to shrink as the
equities trading business slows globally.
Liquidnet, which employed 331 people worldwide as of early
September, is also considering cutting staff at its London
operations, where it employs about 45 people, spokeswoman
Melissa Kanter said.
"Liquidnet has taken steps to reduce headcount in selected
parts of our business, reflecting the results of a review of our
operations and the slowdown in global equities trading," the
company said in a statement.
The layoffs highlight that even fully electronic businesses
are vulnerable to the steep decline in trading volume that has
afflicted the stock market since the second half of 2009.
Liquidnet is best known for matching, or crossing, huge orders
of stocks from buyers and sellers.
The cuts affected senior and junior staffers across all
departments, Kanter said. At its peak around 2008, Liquidnet
employed about 470 people.
The layoffs follow the demise of several small traditional
equities brokers this year and severe downsizing on the stock-
trading desks of giants such as Nomura Securities and
Bank of America
Those firms have high overhead costs because of their need
to produce research and other services from analysts, traders
and salespeople. Nomura earlier this month said it would shift
its labor-intensive cash equities operation to the
all-electronic model of its Instinet affiliate.
Commission charges also have plummeted over the last 10
years, although Liquidnet still charges a relatively high
2-cents-a-share core commission on trading orders. Its average
order size is 50,000 shares, but because it does not service
high-frequency traders it is vulnerable to prolonged declines in
Also this week, RBC Capital Markets reorganized its
electronic trading operations. Brian Suth, co-head of the
Canadian bank's global trading unit since January, has left the
Co-head Thomas Gajer will continue as sole global head of
electronic sales and trading. RBC Capital also appointed Gaurav
Mundra to a new positions as U.S. head of electronic sales and
trading. Both report to Bobby Grubert, head of U.S. equities.
Suth, whose LinkedIn page said he ran RBC's electronic sales
team from late 2009 to the beginning of this year, did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
RBC remains "fully committed" to the equities business,
spokesman Kevin Foster said. The Canadian bank and its New
York-based capital markets unit do not broader layoff programs
in the works.
Some of the layoffs at Liquidnet were reported earlier by