wall street traders

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch has poached the US head of flow trading from JPMorgan.
  • The move is part of an ongoing war for top equities talent.
  • Competition for equities talent has intensified in 2018 amid a rebound in volatility that has revived banks’ stock-trading businesses, with some reporting record revenue in the first quarter.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has poached a top trader from JPMorgan Chase, the latest in an ongoing war for top equities traders.

David Kim, the US head of flow trading at JPMorgan, has left the bank after nearly six years and will be taking on a similar role at Bank of America as a senior flow trader, according to people familiar with the matter.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined to comment, and a Bank of America spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bank of America’s hiring of Kim, who also spent time at UBS and Goldman Sachs before joining JPMorgan, will help fill the hole left by the departure of Ross Mtangi, who joined Credit Suisse in May as global head of flow derivatives trading.

That in turn creates a hole on the flow-trading front for JPMorgan, which also lost Seok Yoon Jeong, its head of index flow volatility trading in the US, to Citigroup in March.

Competition for star traders has been fierce this year amid a rebound in volatility that has revived banks’ stock-trading businesses, with some reporting record revenue in the first quarter.

The total equities revenue pool grew 28% in the first quarter, according to research from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, especially in derivatives as clients clamored to take advantage of market tumult. The second quarter has been less frothy, though the political crisis in Italy and uncertainty in Spain have spurred activity recently, the research said.

The trend stands in contrast to recent years, in which banks’ equities departments have been battered as client activity has plummeted. The prolonged shift from active fund management to passive investing has limited trading opportunities for banks that serve hedge funds.

The move to electronic trading from human brokers has also put pressure on margins. US equity commissions from institutional investors to brokers have fallen eight years in a row, according to research from Greenwich Associates.

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