Morgan Stanley Plans to Move 150 Commodities Staff to Manhattan

  • Unit had been in Purchase, New York, for more than a decade
  • Firm is consolidating and shrinking fixed-income business

Morgan Stanley’s commodities-trading unit, based in the firm’s suburban New York campus for more than a decade, is returning to Manhattan.

About 150 traders and support staff will move to the bank’s headquarters this summer from Purchase, New York, according to a person with knowledge of the plan who asked not to be identified discussing numbers that haven’t been announced.

Morgan Stanley is consolidating fixed-income personnel after shrinking both its commodities operation and the broader bond-trading division. The firm has sold off businesses that traded and stored physical oil under regulatory pressure to get out of that area. In an effort to boost returns, the bank cut about a quarter of its fixed-income staff last year, and trading chief Ted Pick assigned Sam Kellie-Smith to run the division in January.

“We are moving our more client-focused commodities business back to the firm’s headquarters to maximize the connectivity with the rest of fixed income and the institutional-securities group,” Mark Lake, a company spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday.

The move was reported by industry publication Spark Spread last month.

Morgan Stanley moved the commodities business to a trading floor in Purchase, where the brokerage is located, after the Sept. 11 attacks to reduce the odds another incident in New York City would paralyze trading activities.

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