Morgan Stanley once again claims first place on the list of largest securities brokers in Los Angeles County. Despite losing 123 securities brokers, or 18.6 percent, from 2002, the company still has close to 50 more securities brokers than second place UBS PaineWebber.
Given the market travails, it was a difficult year, with many companies showing significant declines in numbers of brokers and total staff. No. 3 Merrill Lynch employed 70 fewer brokers than for the like period a year earlier. Total employment took a 17.4 percent hit, to 661 employees in L.A. County offices from a year ago.
Wells Fargo Investments fell back three places to No. 10, due to the loss of 18 brokers in its L.A. County offices, for a total of 67 brokers. The financial services firm saw the largest decline in total employees, losing close to two-thirds, or 204 members, of its staff in 2002.
No. 18 Jefferies & Co. was among the few brokerages that reported employment gains for the year, with an addition of 10 brokers and 19 staff members. No. 19 Brookstreet also added four brokers, bringing its total to 39.
Morgan Stanley is the largest securities brokerage in Los Angeles County for the fifth year in a row ever since the 1997 merger of Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter. The company dropped Dean Witter from its name last June.
Despite its No. 1 ranking, the company decreased staff and offices in L.A. County for the second straight year. The number of securities brokers fell by 18.6 percent from 2002 and it closed four offices, leaving 14 in L.A County.
Companywide, the New York-based firm had $420 billion in assets under management in 2002, a decrease of $39 billion from 2001, mainly due to declining market values.
Los Angeles Managing Director Margaret Black said there has been little movement over the past year in terms of local client assets, with many people sitting on the sidelines. “The trend is to watch and wait,” she said. “People have an understanding that what happened to their holdings is happening to the market as a whole.”
Black expects a continued retrenchment in the brokerage industry this year.