Morgan Stanley Fires German Equity Trading Head Gegenwart

Harald Gegenwart, Morgan Stanley’s head of German equity trading, was among those dismissed as the lender cuts jobs amid a slowdown in Europe, according to two people with direct knowledge of the decision.

The dismissal of Gegenwart and the trader he supervised was part of broader reductions across Europe, and trading of regional German stocks will be picked up by other groups, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the cuts weren’t public. A call for comment to Gegenwart today was answered by someone who said he wasn’t in the office.

Morgan Stanley is eliminating fewer than 100 jobs as trading and deal volume fall amid the European sovereign-debt crisis, people briefed on the plans said this week. The cuts will come primarily from the trading business in Europe and Asia, said the people, who requested anonymity because the plans aren’t public.

At least seven euro economies already are in recession and Germany, Europe’s largest, which helped the single-currency zone avert a contraction in the first quarter, also is cooling. German investor confidence dropped the most in 14 years in June, and executives grew more pessimistic. Euro-area economic sentiment slumped to the lowest in more than 2 1/2 years last month, while unemployment reached a record 11.1 percent in May.

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