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Morgan Stanley's equities business lost Nick Laux AND Scott McDavid

For a quiet hiring market, there's suddenly a flurry of activity. Morgan Stanley has lost Scott McDavid, its co-head of equities trading for the Americas, to Barclays. And he's not the only exit. 

Nick Laux, Morgan Stanley's head of European equities trading also resigned last week. He's understood to be joining Bank of America. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Laux himself didn't respond to a request to comment.

McDavid spent 19 years at Morgan Stanley after joining from Susquehanna in 2003, and was based in New York. Laux, who was based in London, was there for less than five years after joining as a managing director from Goldman Sachs.

Both men will not have come cheaply and their moves indicate that for all the reticence about hiring this year, banks will still make big opportunistic hires when they can. Barclays is likely to have paid over $10m for McDavid, for example.

The exits at Morgan Stanley come as the bank is cutting 3,000 people, with a focus on its investment bank, but the exits of neither McDavid nor Laux are thought to be related to the reduction in force.

Neither man is implicated in the investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission into Morgan Stanley's block trading business. However, Morgan Stanley is currently negotiating a financial settlement with the SEC over the issue, and there are allegedly some fears that the eventual sum could impact Morgan Stanley's overall equities bonus pool for this year.

McDavid and Laux aren't the only people moving in equities. Bank of America also hired Neil Kearns, the former head of Goldman Sachs' corporate trading desk in New York. And Barclays also hired ex-Goldman Sachs partner Ronnie Wexler from crypto firm NYDig as global head of equities distribution. 

Bank of America is supposed to have a hiring freeze. However, its London equities business lost multiple people in the first quarter and Laux is presumably an attempt to remedy this.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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